California's Ryan Murphy sets American record
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Ryan Murphy wasn't just good Saturday night.
He was outstanding.
Murphy set an American record in the 200-yard backstroke, breaking Ryan Lochte's eight-year-old American record by .04 seconds to claim his second title at the NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. The meet was held at Iowa's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
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Murphy also won 100 back on Friday and led off Cal's winning 200 medley relay. He set the American record for both the 200 and 100 back in the three-day meet and was named the Swimmer of the Year by the College Swim Coaches Association.
"I had a great weekend, but a lot of people swam really great," said Murphy, a sophomore who also won both events a year ago.
Lochte, an 11-time Olympic medalist, is one of the gold standards in the sport of swimming. Murphy said he did not feel intimidated by Lochte's record.
"I was more focusing on a race strategy and just trying to do the little things right," Murphy said. "Luckily for me, that ended up in an American record that I was clearly pumped about."
Cal coach David Durden said Murphy's attention to detail is what makes him great.
"He's very much a student of what he has to do, whether it be watching video, training or eating habits," Durden said. "He wants to get better and he's always trying to find something for that extra edge."
Murphy was one of four individuals to win two events in the meet. He was joined by the Texas duo of sophomore Will Licon and freshman Joseph Schooling, as well as Purdue freshman diver Steele Johnson.
Licon edged two-time defending champion Kevin Cordes, an Arizona senior and American record holder, in the 200 breaststroke after winning the 400 individual medley earlier in the meet.
"I don't think it's really set in," said Licon, who finished second in the 200 IM to Stanford's David Nolan, who beat him by setting an American record. Licon also swam on Texas' winning 400 medley relay.
Schooling out-touched teammate Jack Conger to win the 200 butterfly after winning the 100 fly Friday night.
"It's always hard to get up in that sixth session on the last day and swim the 200 fly," Schooling said. "I was lucky to have two world-class guys [Michigan's Dylan Bosch and Conger] next to me to push me."
Schooling also swam on the winning 400 medley relay.
"Overall, I think it was a really good meet," he said.
Johnson won the platform diving. He also claimed the title on the one-meter springboard Thursday. He was named Diver of the Year and his coach, Adam Soldati, was named Diving Coach of the Year.
Johnson said his failure to make the finals in Friday's three-meter event was the kick in the Speedo he needed to win on the platform.
"That's one of my better events," Johnson said. "I was upset with yesterday's competition. I wasn't happy with how I dove."
Johnson excelled in Saturday afternoon's platform prelims, placing first.
"Then I got all hyped up and thought, 'Oh my gosh. You could win another NCAA title,' " he said. "[Soldati] told me it doesn't matter whether you win or lose. He got me focused on doing my dives for 10s."
The perfect score -- Johnson hit that with his fifth dive to pull away from fellow freshman James Connor of Indiana, a 2012 Olympian on the platform for Australia.
There were three American records and two NCAA records set in the three-day meet.