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Ryan Murphy’s 100 Backstroke Win Highlights Final Day Of 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series

By Karen Price | June 04, 2017, 11:06 p.m. (ET)

Ryan Murphy poses for a photo with his medals on the "TODAY" show set on Copacabana Beach on Aug. 15, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.


Four days of Arena Pro Swim Series competition at Santa Clara, California, wrapped up on Sunday with several tightly contested events featuring Olympic champions.

In the most anticipated event of the night, three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy held off a field that included seven Olympians and the last two Olympic gold medalists in the 100-meter backstroke. Murphy set the record of 51.85 seconds in Rio, and although he didn’t threaten that time swimming 53.48 on Sunday, it was his fastest time this year and earned him the win.  

Matt Grevers, who was the 2012 Olympic champion and whose world record Murphy busted last year, stayed at Murphy’s side the whole race but finished second with a time of 53.90.

Jay Litherland, a 2016 Olympian, capped a spectacular meet with a tie for first in the men’s 200 IM. Litherland won the 400 IM on Saturday night and then turned around and won the 200 freestyle just over 20 minutes later. On Sunday, it was 18-year-old Michael Andrew, who is one of the top up-and-comers in the United States, who led early, but Litherland used his powerful closing speed and they both touched the wall in 2:00.48 to share the victory.

Olympic silver medalist Chase Kalisz, who is one of the United States’ most versatile swimmers at the moment, got his third straight Pro Swim Series victory in a tightly-contested men’s 200 butterfly with a time of 1:56.60. Pace Clark, who led early in the race before Kalisz made a second-half push, finished second with a time of 1:56.75, and Jack Conger was third in 1:58.44.

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Kevin Cordes, 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100 medley, earned his second Pro Swim Series event win in the men’s 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.61. He held off Nic Fink’s late surge, and Fink finished second (1:00.70), while Andrew, who finished fourth in the event at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials last year, was third (1:01.46).

Olympic gold medalist Cierra Runge earned the win in the women’s 800 freestyle by five seconds with a time of 8:29.27.

Madisyn Cox won her third event of the meet in the women’s 200 IM with a time of 2:11.56. Cox previously won the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM.

In the women’s 200 butterfly, Katie McLaughlin had a nice lead halfway through the race, and although the field began to close on her in the final 25 meters, McLaughlin held on for the win in 2:10.35. Lauren Case was second in 2:10.80 and Remedy Rule finished in third in 2:11.41.

Points from the series will carry over into the Phillips 66 National Championships, part of Team USA Summer Champions Series, presented by Comcast, which begin June 27 in Indianapolis.

Josh Prenot led the men’s standings with 43 points going into Sunday but did not race, and Kalisz pulled even with his win in the 200 butterfly.

Melanie Margalis leads the women’s standings with 39, one more than Katie Ledecky (38). Neither raced Sunday.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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