Blueseventy Swim of the Week: Murphy Keys Double Sweep For Rising Cal


Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Last weekend, the California men had about the best weekend of NCAA dual meet competition they could ask for.

With a pair of Pac-12 rivals in town in Arizona and Arizona State, Cal swept every single event of both duals, with Ryan Murphy taking home 7 key wins in the process.

Against Arizona on Friday night, Murphy won all four of his races. The 50 free was his “off” event, and even still, Murphy blasted a 19.84 to blow out the field by almost half a second. That’s good news for the Cal free relays, which have typically relied on Murphy for a huge split at NCAAs. He was also 19.4 on his leg of the winning 200 free relay.

Back in his backstroke wheelhouse, Murphy was his typically untouchable self. His 45.87 leading off the 400 medley relay was the best 100 yard back we’ve seen in 2016 by almost two seconds. And his 1:41.20 win in the 200 back earns the same honor.

On Saturday against the Sun Devils, Murphy took on an entirely different lineup. Again his relay splits were spectacular (21.53 in the 50 back and 43.83 in the 100 free), and this time, he added a 46.95 win in the 100 fly. The only event Murphy didn’t win on the weekend was the 200 free, where he finished second to teammate Trent Williams by just .02 seconds (Williams was 1:37.01, Murphy 1:37.03).

Though Texas is still the heavy favorite to repeat as NCAA champs, Cal’s star swimmers have been flexing their muscles enough to stir up at least some discussion as to whether they could challenge the Longhorns at NCAAs. Murphy – the NCAA Swimmer of the Year last season – is central to that effort as arguably the best swimmer in college swimming.

We’ll have to wait for March to see exactly how realistic a nailbiting Texas-Cal showdown truly is. But for last weekend, Murphy has at least earned his Golden Bears the Blueseventy Swim of the Week.

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Future of USA swimming.


Chances of Cal defeating Texas at NCAA’s are either slim or none. You pick. I’m a big PAC 12 fan but lets be realistic here. With Stubblefield now gone, even with Messerschmidt and Murphy, their free relays are toast.


Cal’s my team, but I just don’t see it. Texas has incredible depth almost across the board and in all the relays. I’ll pick slim over none, but only because things like multiple DQs, illnesses, and injuries exist- and I don’t wish that on anybody. Cal will be battling for 2nd this year.


Yeah I don’t think anyone is saying otherwise. Cal has no depth but it’s still going to be fun watching the team race.

Displaced Wolverine

“Murphy – the NCAA Swimmer of the Year last season – is central to that effort as arguably the best swimmer in college swimming.”

You know I don’t think I’ve actually considered him the best in NCAA but if you look at it, He has yet to lose a backstroke race at NCAA’s and has continuously set the record lower and lower each time.

I think the only people you could make a case for that could be “better” than Murphy is maybe Schooling, possibly Dressel

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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