Beef Squashed: Murphy, Stewart Hash Things Out After Skins Controversy

Swimming got its first real taste of so-called “beef” inside the Budapest bubble on Monday at the conclusion of the ISL’s second semi-final, as backstroke specialists Ryan Murphy and Coleman Stewart got into it a little bit after their three-round skins battle.

Murphy, a member of the LA Current, defeated Stewart in every round, including a 1.56-second victory in the final head-to-head showdown.

Post-race, after the two shook hands, video caught Murphy saying “b****”, referencing Stewart, while looking at his teammates.

Stewart, who competes for LA’s in-state rival, the Cali Condors, responded on social media.

In addition to the decisive victory, Murphy “jackpotted” Stewart due to his margin of victory in Round 3, stealing seven of his points and $2,400 in prize money.

The animosity reportedly stemmed from Stewart “talking trash” that he was going to win the skins and beat Murphy in the warm-up pool, multiple swimmers told SwimSwam. While Murphy wasn’t present for this, he did say it fired him up, while ultimately acknowledging that he took it too far. Stewart says that what was said in the warmup pool was fairly mild.

Since Stewart’s call-out on social media, the two seem to have squashed the beef.

Murphy says he approached Stewart and that the two spoke this morning and hashed things out. Stewart agreed that the two were now on better footing after talking, saying that “emotions run high when we compete, especially the fifth week in a bubble”.

While the two appear to be on good terms, the incident still adds to the anticipation of the league finale coming up this weekend.

With the majority of the sport’s biggest stars all set to be in action, this will be like “Super Bowl Week” for the ISL, and these kind of tensions and rivalries can help bring visibility and excitement to a format that can become a little stale at times as the season wares on.

While this was the first real swimmer v. swimmer conflict this season, things were also stirred up two weeks ago when London Roar coach Mel Marshall called out some swimmers for using illegal dolphin kicks in breaststroke.

Other than the skins, Murphy and Stewart raced three additional times during the semis. Murphy picked up the win in the 50 back (22.76 to 22.84), Stewart (49.66) took second to Murphy’s tie for third (49.81) in the 100 back, and Murphy edged his rival by .02 on the lead-off leg of the men’s 400 medley relay.

Heading into the final, which kicks off on Saturday, Murphy ranks first in the ISL this season in both the 50 (22.75) and 200 back (1:47.48), while sitting third in the 100 (49.62). Stewart, who is in his first year as a pro after closing out his senior year at NC State in the NCAA, is third in the 50 (22.84) and fifth in the 100 (49.66).

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Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
11 months ago

Aw man I kind of hoped there would be more fireworks, but nonetheless this is the mature thing to happen.

Hmm
11 months ago

Or you could ‘not suck’ in the third round…

swimfin5
11 months ago

Difference in Education. Murphy = CAL = smart

DBSwims
Reply to  swimfin5
11 months ago

Oh boy. If you think what college you go to determines how smart you are, you got a long life ahead of you bud.

swimfin5
Reply to  DBSwims
11 months ago

Don’t worry I went to Harvard

The Importer AND Exporter
Reply to  swimfin5
11 months ago

The only thing that means is that you answer every question with “i went to Harvard.”

Swammer
Reply to  The Importer AND Exporter
11 months ago

Did y’all know Andy went to Cornell?

Harverd
Reply to  swimfin5
11 months ago

Of course you did.

They kicked him out
Reply to  swimfin5
11 months ago

With a comment like that? Ha! Doubt it!

Donaldt
Reply to  swimfin5
10 months ago

Poor advert for Harvard.

Swammerstein
Reply to  swimfin5
11 months ago

haha the cal swimmers dont do school, thats funny man

Bearsfan00
Reply to  Swammerstein
10 months ago

Funny comment seeing as Murphy got into the Haas Business school (one of the top business schools in the country) and the women have had the highest team GPA on campus for the last 2 or 3 years… but ok

Swimfish87
11 months ago

OK I’m gonna say this and I know I’m probably going to get blowback. I love this! I think it’s ridiculous that people are going after Ryan for saying that. I mean let’s be real we could turn on the TV and watch baseball, basketball, football, hell any sport and see players and coaches saying things 10 times worse. It brings the rivalry back into swimming. Something we’ve been missing out on since the Phelps Crocker area. I think it’s great bring in the trash talking get some publicity. It may not be good publicity but any publicity is good publicity at this point. If it brings in viewership and people to the sport it’s fine by me.

Pvdh
Reply to  Swimfish87
11 months ago

You mean cavic? Don’t think Crocker and Phelps has any beef. Phelps always seemed to respect Ian even far after Ian retire

Joe
Reply to  Pvdh
11 months ago

2004 medley relay.

eagleswim
Reply to  Joe
11 months ago

the one where phelps let crocker swim the final even though phelps won the individual 100 fly…?

Joe
Reply to  eagleswim
11 months ago

Yes. Great respect between the two! Gave Ian the chance to make things right after a less than ideal 4×100 free relay lead off. A 50.28 split on the butterfly would do just fine.

Last edited 11 months ago by Joe
Ferb
Reply to  Swimfish87
11 months ago

Phelps – Le Clos was pretty good in the summer of 2015. That kind of thing gets the swimmers and the fans fired up, but “B**ch” is going a little too far. I don’t think most swim fans (sponsors?) want to see that kind of disrespect, and that one will probably stick to Murphy for a while.

Ferb
Reply to  Ferb
11 months ago

Alright, maybe I was wrong. I wasn’t in the warmup pool, and I should know better than to judge a 5-second video clip out of context. I’d still prefer to think of Murphy as a nice guy who lets his swimming do the talking, though.

swimz14
Reply to  Swimfish87
11 months ago

King v Efimova was fun

Swimmer
Reply to  Swimfish87
11 months ago

The podium protests at last years worlds were pretty interesting to watch unfold and those fired up debate everywhere at the time

Swimfish87
Reply to  Swimmer
11 months ago

I would agree with all of you and all of you are examples. We all know Ian and Phelps didn’t have a rivalry but the media made them into the rivalry. All true swim fins know that Phelps gave up his spot on the relate to Crocker in 2004

Swum
Reply to  Swimfish87
11 months ago

We can also see athletes having fist fights on TV but that doesn’t mean that swimmers should do it. They should try to be the best version of themselves, that include to not insult other peoples.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Swimfish87
11 months ago

Agree, the worse part of this is Coleman getting smoked in that 3rd 50 but it’s entertaining and adds a level of excitement. Once they settle down post race this stuff is usually forgotten.

reliable source
Reply to  Swimfish87
2 months ago

or maybe we could get more interest by having athletes with interesting personalities instead of trying to be as toxic as other sports?

William Wallace
11 months ago

Ryan Chad, Coleman Sad

Joey T
11 months ago

#thisleague

noteam
11 months ago

Colemans kind of a weenie for taking it to social media and playing the good guy. Maybe hes looking for cred? It bumps his stock to have a rivalry with the current king of backstroke. no matter, I think a little beef is good for the sport and theyve both been swimming very fast the last few weeks.

ReneDescartes
Reply to  noteam
11 months ago

I don’t squash beef on the internet I approach you.

SCCOACH
Reply to  noteam
11 months ago

Totally agreed… lol at telling someone, on Twitter, to say something to your face.

Swim fan 44
11 months ago

This beef needs to keep up, it’s exactly what the isl needs

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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