Cal Backstrokers Clinch Olympic Final Berths
TOKYO – California's backstroke group was formidable yet again Wednesday night (PT) at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as Americans Ryan Murphy and Bryce Mefford advanced to the 200-meter backstroke final.
Murphy (1:55.38) and Mefford (1:56.37) earned the third and sixth seeds, respectively, as they swam side-by-side in lanes five and six of the second semifinal heat at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Murphy, a 2017 Cal graduate, is the reigning Olympic champion in the event while Mefford, a 2021 grad, is making his Olympic debut.
Cal has put two swimmers in both Olympic backstroke finals this week; Murphy won bronze in the 100 back on Monday and was joined by sixth-place finisher and rising Golden Bear senior Hugo González (Spain) in the final.
González was also in action Wednesday night, clocking 1:57.96 for an 11th-place finish in the 200 individual medley semis.
In morning qualifying, Mefford swam an identical 1:56.37 for the third-fastest time in the field while Murphy entered the semis as the seventh seed following a 1:56.92 in prelims. González was 1:57.61 in 200 IM qualifying.
Cal post-graduates Tom Shields (USA) and Zheng Quah (Singapore) will kick of Thursday's action at 3:51 a.m. PT with the 100 butterfly prelims.
200-Meter Backstroke Semifinals
3. Ryan Murphy (1:55.38) – advanced
6. Bryce Mefford (1:56.37) – advanced
200-Meter Backstroke Heats
3. Bryce Mefford (1:56.37) – advanced
7. Ryan Murphy (1:56.92) – advanced
200-Meter Individual Medley Semifinals
11. Hugo González (1:57.96)
200-Meter Individual Medley Heats
11. Hugo González (1:57.61) – advanced
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