OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Ryan Murphy will get a chance to defend America’s backstroke streak in Tokyo.
Murphy wind-milled to victory in the 200-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Friday night, adding to his triumph in the 100 back.
Lilly King also booked a second event in Tokyo, though she didn’t tough the wall first. The outspoken American settled for the runner-up spot in the 200 breaststroke, touching the wall nearly three-quarters of a second behind Annie Lazor.
King had previously won the 100 breast.
Murphy set himself up to go for another backstroke-double in Japan, leading the entire race to post a winning time of 1 minute, 54.20 seconds.
The 25-year-old Floridian, who trains in California, swept both races at the Rio Games. The American men haven’t lost a backstroke race at the Olympics since 1992 in Barcelona.
“It feels awesome,” Murphy said. “I put in the work. I mean, I worked really hard, better than I have any other year. I’m really excited to get that double going.”
He’s not feeling any pressure to extend the U.S. streak.
“Obviously, I want to go in there and win. I’m as competitive as anyone,” Murphy said. “But it doesn’t make or break my life.”
Bryce Mefford took the likely second Olympic spot behind Murphy in 1:54.79. No one else was within a second of him.
Lazor had just missed out on a spot in the 100 breast, settling for third in an event that King has dominated.
But the 26-year-old Lazor, a native of Michigan, earned her first trip to the Olympics in the longer breaststroke event.
Lazor’s winning time was 2:21.07, a comfortable distance ahead of King at 2:21.75.
While the 100 has always been King’s baby, she’s becoming stronger in the 200.
Not strong enough to beat Lazor.
“She’s pretty fearless in it now,” Lazor said. “I never really knew I had the race in the bag.”
When the race was over, King gave Lazor a big hug.
“This is Team USA,” King said. “It’s not Team Lilly.”
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