Roadmaps – Mapping the Journey of US Swimming Stars: Men’s 100 Back

In our new series, Roadmaps – Mapping the Journey of US Swimming Stars, we will explore how modern-day Olympians climbed their way to the top, starting from as early as 8 years old all the way to their elite level today.

The US men have won 6 consecutive Olympic gold medals in the men’s 100-meter back, a streak that dates back to 1996. This long-standing excellence consistently repeats itself every four years, with a new veteran/rising star duo qualifying every U.S. Trials meet. Find out more about how this backstroke tradition is carried throughout the years in this Roadmaps installment.

2017-2020 Olympic Quad: US Men’s 100 BK LCM

Rank Swimmer Time Meet
1 Ryan Murphy 51.94 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
2 Matt Grevers 52.26 2017 World Championships
3 Shaine Casas 52.72 2019 Summer U.S. Nationals
4 Justin Ress 53.26 2018 Summer U.S. Nationals
5 Michael Andrew 53.40 2019 Sette Colli Trophy
5 Jacob Pebley 53.40 2019 FINA Champions Series – Indy
7 Daniel Carr 53.50 2019 Pan American Games
8 Bryce Mefford 53.84 2018 Summer U.S. Nationals

Your top 2 swimmers are both Olympic gold medalists in the 100-meter back, Ryan Murphy (2016) and Matt Grevers (2012). Breaking out over this past summer are NCAA powerhouse Shaine Casas (52.72) and World Universiade champion Justin Ress (53.26). Versatile star Michael Andrew (53.40) also cracks the top 5 performers this Olympic quad.

Along with Murphy, Jacob Pebley (53.40), Daniel Carr (53.50), and Bryce Mefford (53.84) all represent Cal for the remaining top 8 spots.

Age Group Phenoms

Michael Andrew, Ryan Murphy, Shaine Casas, and Justin Ress swam the 100-yard back at 8 years old, with Murphy and Andrew already swimming under 1:15. Andrew and Murphy went on to swim 1:06s once they entered the 9-10 age group.

In the 10 & under age group, Andrew and Murphy were already swimming under 30 seconds in the 50-yard back. Andrew, Murphy, Ress, Casas, Jacob Pebley, Daniel Carr, and Bryce Mefford also were under 31 seconds in the 50-yard back while in the 11-12 age group. Notably, Andrew was at 25.50 while Murphy was at 26.06, both before turning 13.

Men’s 50 BK: Age Group Times

10&U Best

Name SCY LCM
Michael Andrew 28.58 32.72
Ryan Murphy 29.32 33.29
Bryce Mefford 32.85
Jacob Pebley 33.05 37.63
Justin Ress 33.13 37.18
Daniel Carr 33.60 36.43
Shaine Casas 35.34 38.68
Matt Grevers

11-12 Best

Name SCY LCM
Michael Andrew 25.50 29.73
Ryan Murphy 26.06 29.63
Jacob Pebley 27.90 31.59
Justin Ress 29.35 32.95
Daniel Carr 29.58 34.78
Shaine Casas 29.70 34.73
Bryce Mefford 30.62 34.53
Matt Grevers

Hitting Competitive Backstroke Marks

Ryan Murphy only continued to excel after finding his natural backstroke talent. At 11 years old, he had already broken the 1:00-barrier in the 100-yard back. Two years later at 13, Murphy then went sub-1:00 in the long course pool for the first time. He leveled up as a 16-year-old when he swam then-lifetime bests of 46.72 (SCY) and 53.76 (LCM), immediately making himself a senior-level competitor.

Michael Andrew (11) and Jacob Pebley (12) also went sub-1:00 in the short pool before turning 13. While the USA Swimming database did not show times for Matt Grevers before 2000, his age 14 best time in the 100-yard back was 51.85.

While Murphy was just a high school sophomore when hit sub-47 SCY and sub-54 LCM, the rest of the group was college-age (18-23) when hitting those competitive marks.

Men’s 100 BK: Competitive Barriers

Name Sub-1:00 SCY Sub-47 SCY
Sub-54 LCM
Ryan Murphy 11 16 16
Shaine Casas 13 18 19
Justin Ress 13 20 19
Michael Andrew 11 18 19
Jacob Pebley 12 19 19
Bryce Mefford 13 19 19
Daniel Carr 13 18 20
Matt Grevers 14 18 23

Fighting for Relay Spots & Medals

The 50 back in the 200 medley relay can be one of the most competitive relay spots to fight for and to lead off. While in high school, Ryan Murphy (21.09), Shaine Casas (21.46), and Michael Andrew (21.60) were all sub-22 in the 50-yard back. Fast forward into college, Murphy (20.20), Bryce Mefford (20.62),  and Casas (20.84) all went sub-21 while Mefford (21.43), Matt Grevers (21.46), Andrew (21.52), Justin Ress (21.68), and Jacob Pebley (21.99) cracked 22 seconds.

Men’s 50 BK SCY: 13&Over Times

Name 13-17 Best
18-22 Best
Ryan Murphy 21.09 20.20
Shaine Casas 21.46 20.84
Michael Andrew 21.60 21.52
Bryce Mefford 22.22 21.43
Daniel Carr 23.65 20.62
Jacob Pebley 24.05 21.99
Justin Ress 26.87 21.68
Matt Grevers 21.46

American Men’s Backstroke Excellence: Who Will Pass the Torch?

In the NCAA, Cal’s Ryan Murphy reigned in the 100-yard back from 2014-2017. Nine years earlier from 2005-2007, it was Northwestern’s Matt Grevers who was king of the 100 back. The rest of the group, with the exception of Michael Andrew, did not/have yet to earn NCAA titles in the 100-yard back.

However, stepping up to the Olympic level means including training for the 100-meter back in the long course pool. Putting the top 8 men this Olympic quad next to the 100 back Olympians since 2000 (Krayzelburg, Walker, Peirsol, Grevers, Thoman, Plummer, Murphy), the entire group is under 54 seconds, all faster than Lenny Krazyelburg‘s 2000 world record (53.87).

The only 3 US swimmers to break 53 seconds, a mark that was established in 2008 by Aaron Peirsol, this quad are 2016 Olympic champion Ryan Murphy (51.85), 2012 Olympic champion Matt Grevers (52.26), and 2019 U.S. National champion Shaine Casas (52.72).

For this 2019-2020 season, Murphy remains the only American under 53 seconds at 52.79 from PSS Des Moines in March, ranking 2nd in the world behind Japan’s Ryosuke Irie (52.59). Filing behind World #3 Xu Xiayu (52.97) are Americans Casas (53.14), Grevers (53.54), and double 2019 Pan American BK champion Daniel Carr (53.64). The next fastest American this season is Justin Ress at 53.99, which ranks 17th in the world.

Comparison- Top 8 US Men (2017-2020) V. 100 BK Olympians Since 2000

1 Ryan Murphy (2016 finals) 51.85r
2 Ryan Murphy (2018) 51.94
3 Matt Grevers (2012 finals) 52.16
4 Matt Grevers (2017) 52.26
5 David Plummer (2016 finals) 52.40
6 Aaron Peirsol (2008 finals) 52.54
7 Shaine Casas 52.72
8 Nick Thoman (2012 finals) 52.92
9 Justin Ress 53.26
10 Michael Andrew 53.40
11 Jacob Pebley 53.40
12 Daniel Carr 53.50
13 Bryce Mefford 53.84
14 Lenny Krayzelburg (2000 finals) 53.87r
15 Neil Walker (2000 prelims) 55.10r

 

Men’s 100 BK LCM: Progression By Stage

Name 14&U 15-18 18-22 23+
Ryan Murphy 57.76 53.57 51.85 51.94
Matt Grevers 55.74 54.24 52.08
Shaine Casas 1:01.91 54.51 52.72
Justin Ress 1:04.38 54.90 53.26
Michael Andrew 56.83 55.13 53.40
Jacob Pebley 58.98 54.49 52.95 53.40
Daniel Carr 58.99 54.80 53.50
Bryce Mefford 1:00.38 55.39 53.84

Men’s 100 BK SCY: Lifetime Bests

Name Time Age
Ryan Murphy 43.49 20
Shaine Casas 44.48 19
Matt Grevers 44.49 28
Daniel Carr 44.86 20
Justin Ress 45.33 21
Bryce Mefford 45.38 20
Jacob Pebley 45.61 22
Michael Andrew 46.50 18

 

Single Age Progression: Men’s 100 BK LCM (Ages 8-27)

Name 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Ryan Murphy 1:21.32 1:17.06 1:11.01 1:06.31 1:02.68 59.43 57.76 55.56 53.76 53.38 53.57 53.20 52.18 51.85 52.34 51.94 52.44
Matt Grevers 59.21 57.23 56.41 55.74 55.13 54.24 55.34 55.31 52.99 52.82 54.00 53.14 52.08
Shaine Casas 1:26.64 1:19.33 1:16.43 1:08.04 1:01.91 58.60 58.19 55.79 54.51 52.72
Justin Ress 1:31.14 1:20.25 1:15.33 1:11.36 1:08.50 1:04.38 1:04.68 58.54 57.36 54.90 53.27 53.26 53.31 53.80
Michael Andrew 1:35.99 1:26.34 1:11.51 1:09.15 1:05.57 1:00.87 56.83 55.73 54.74 55.28 55.13 53.55 53.40
Jacob Pebley 1:19.84 1:12.57 1:05.38 1:02.24 58.98 57.72 55.61 55.01 54.49 53.98 53.89 54.22 52.95 53.72 53.93 53.40 54.39
Daniel Carr 1:33.29 1:21.07 1:16.33 1:12.18 1:02.18 58.99 56.97 55.64 54.95 54.80 54.01 53.50 53.64
Bryce Mefford 1:10.92 1:06.58 1:00.38 58.54 55.74 55.70 55.39 53.84 54.34

Single Age Progression: Men’s 100 BK SCY (Ages 8-28)

Name 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Ryan Murphy 1:13.07 1:06.78 1:02.12 58.03 54.20 51.08 49.47 47.96 46.72 45.34 44.63 44.17 43.49 43.99 45.03
Matt Grevers 51.85 49.72 49.91 48.43 46.68 45.62 45.78 45.61 45.89 45.48 45.97 44.82 46.37 44.55 44.49
Shaine Casas 1:29.29 1:21.83 1:18.19 1:06.47 1:05.80 59.21 55.88 50.41 48.43 45.99 44.48 44.68
Justin Ress 1:29.90 1:20.91 1:11.57 1:07.27 1:02.95 59.92 58.10 56.13 51.58 52.25 47.81 46.64 45.33 46.04
Michael Andrew 1:15.89 1:06.33 1:00.86 57.93 54.87 50.65 47.83 47.61 47.19 47.78 46.50
Jacob Pebley 1:10.62 1:04.43 58.98 54.71 52.08 50.58 49.72 47.62 47.34 46.11 46.09 45.90 45.61 46.03 46.06 46.97 47.24
Daniel Carr 1:21.37 1:14.14 1:05.09 1:04.46 57.79 51.87 49.12 48.14 48.10 46.74 45.24 44.86 45.09
Bryce Mefford 1:18.70 1:10.11 1:05.40 1:02.51 59.18 54.57 50.95 48.07 48.05 47.38 47.52 45.38 46.11

More from the Roadmaps Series:

Up next for the Roadmaps series will be the women’s 100 back, featuring Regan SmithKathleen Baker, and Olivia Smoliga.

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Silent Observer

Where does Coleman Stewart fall in this listing? We know his scy back times became impressive…. Didn’t he also do some pretty fantastic LCM back times at the world university games last summer?

25BACKSTROKE

I believe he led off the relay in 53 high in prelims. Given that he has been 43 in the 100 SCY and based off his ACC times had potential for 43 low-mid this season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 52 from him at trials.

Poop

Not in the picture

PACFAN

1) Men’s backstroke is as strong nationally as ever, the other top guys in the world (Xu Jiayu, Kolesnikov, Rylov) just caught up.

2) Murphy is stacked.

3) Did Lochte ever go to the Olympics in the 100 back?

USA

The closest he got was 3rd at the ‘08 trials just hundredths behind Grevers

Joe

Lochte I think has a PR of 53.37, set at the 2008 trials. He won silver in 2007 Worlds behind Piersol (53.50 to Piersol’s 52.98 WR).

MP went 53.01 in 2007!

HKSWIMMER

Also Dean Farris should be in this conversation given he’s the reigning NCAA champion with a 43?

Horninco

Need to translate it to the big pool

wokebanana

53.93 from last year’s nationals… he’s got a great shot if you ask me

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro has had a huge passion for swimming since his first dive in the pool, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing, but still uses the sport as his go-to cardio. SwimSwam has become an outlet for him to continue showing his …

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