Can Hunter Armstrong Break Ryan Murphy’s 100 Back World Record?

2020 Olympian Hunter Armstrong dominated SwimSwam headlines during the U.S. International Team Trials.  He was among the most improved performers in his 100m free. His seed time was a modest 49.31, but he touched the finals wall in 48.25,  which may be enough to put him on the U.S. World Champs 4×100 free relay. (Hunter tied Drew Kibler for 4th in the 100, and Hunter clocked a solid 22 flat in the 50m free on the 5th day of finals.)   Day 3 Hunter obliterated the 50m back world record, 23.71.  Day 4 Hunter edged Ryan Murphy for the win in the 100m back, 52.20. By day 5 Hunter announced his retirement from college swimming to turn pro.

I did not know how green Hunter was until U.S. International Team Trials. He’s an extremely raw talent–only on his forth summer of full-time training. That’s insane. It also sheds more light on why he didn’t final at the 2020 Olympic Games after his lights out 100 back at the U.S. Olympic Trials.   In this interview, Hunter also addresses his 44.42 5th place at NCAA Champs, which, if we’re being fair, was a great swim, but slower than fans expected.

2022 Hunter Armstrong World Champs Predictions:

Hunter’s got a lot to prove after his Olympic Game performance.  Hunter clearly doesn’t like multiple tapers, and this World Champs provides him the training space to taper for one big meet.   I see Hunter ripping it again in the 50m back, re-breaking world record in 23.69 for the gold.

100 back? Can he break Murphy’s world record? I don’t think so.  I see 52.29. Hunter makes the podium, a big step forward–but Ryan Murphy edges him for the win touching in 52.1. Murphy has a lot to prove this summer.  And I think Murphy’s back half 50 on the 100 at U.S. Trials was off.  Murphy will tighten up his second 50, and that will be enough for him to net gold Budapest.

But who cares what I think. It’s all about what you think? Drop your comments below.


2021-2022 LCM Men 100 Back

51.60 WR
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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of, a Swimming News website.

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Gabriele Bosco
7 months ago

Pay attention to fenomenal talent Thomas Ceccon 👀

7 months ago

Yes I hope so, I’m on the Hunter train!!!! Not a fan of the whinny Murphy.

7 months ago

Men’s backstroke is a strange one at the moment. Despite years of strong competition (Murphy, Kilesnikov, Rylov, Xu, Larkin, Grevers, Irie etc) times have largely stagnated in that 51 high/52 low and 1.53 region. The 52.16 and 1.53.41 that won the 2012 Olympics would almost certainly make the podium at Worlds this summer and could well win.

Normally a clustering of swimmers around the same times pushes someone to take the next step but it hasn’t happened yet in this case. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for someone to push down into the 51 mids in the 100 and challenge Peirsol’s world record in the 200, as ten years ago many of us would have… Read more »

Reply to  Togger
7 months ago

I’m thinking the same. When there are many swimmers who can swim close to the world record in an event, it usually means the record still has a large room for improvement, like previously in men’s 200 breast. People were flirting with 2:07.00 for so many years without breaking it, but now we have a 2:05. I’m expecting the men’s 100 back record to be taken to another level in foreseable future too. We just need to wait for THAT man.

Last edited 7 months ago by olivy
The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  olivy
7 months ago

Not the same as Breastroke though. That has had rule changes and fly kicks to help get times down.

Fobby Binke
7 months ago



7 months ago

I’ve been favoring Murphy in the last 4 years or so, but he never ended up winning at the major championships, so I’m betting on Hunter or Ceccon this time.

7 months ago

Also even though I’m not shaving my head if Hunter breaks the WR, I am donating $100 to a charity of his choice. I will still end up donating money regardless of what happens but about 50-75 dollars if he doesn’t haven’t decided yet. You can hold me to that. Or GMM can give me some suggestions of charities!

Gold Medal Mel
Reply to  PFA
7 months ago


Unknown Swammer
Reply to  PFA
7 months ago as a top notch charity recommendation if needed!

Reply to  PFA
7 months ago

Brain Injury Network Dallas

7 months ago

White lightning needs a sunscreen apinsorship

Reply to  Taa
7 months ago


Former Big10
7 months ago

Uhh how are you favoring Murphy? He hasn’t been “on” at an international meet for 3 years… maybe he pulls a Josh Davis, but the odds are against him.

Hunter ftw, in 51.95, just missing the record. Murphy will be 52.4, but so will 2/3 other guys. Hunter has more top end speed, so as long as he stays straight in the lane, and handles the pressure, this event is his.

Reply to  Former Big10
7 months ago

Seems to me like Murphy was “on” in Tokyo but the opposition was just faster.

Gold Medal Mel
Reply to  Former Big10
7 months ago

…just appreciate the Josh Davis reference.

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel
7 months ago


About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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