Matt Grevers leaves the world championships with a 100m backstroke silver medal, one year after failing to make the Olympic team.
Ryan Murphy snagged bronze, one year after bagging Olympic gold. But at least Murphy still has his world record.
China’s Xu Jiayu, who in April swam one hundredth shy of Murphy’s 100m backstroke mark, won the world title in a much slower time on Tuesday.
Xu, 21 and the Rio silver medalist, clocked 52.44 to prevail in Budapest. He edged a charging 32-year-old Grevers by .04 and Murphy by .15. Murphy swam 51.97 to win in Rio and then the world record of 51.85 in the Olympic medley relay.
“You’re never going to be happy when it comes down to a tenth, that’s really my thought process right now,” Murphy said, according to USA Swimming.
But this year has belonged to Xu, who had the fastest time in the world going into this week and then led the field in prelims, semis and the final.
Grevers, the 2012 Olympic 100m back champion, considered retiring from elite swimming after finishing third behind Murphy and David Plummer at the 2016 Olympic Trials.
But Grevers, after becoming a dad, powered through to beat Murphy at the USA Swimming National Championships last month to book a world team berth as the oldest member of the squad.
“Even a month ago I would have been ecstatic if you said I could get second place at worlds, but now that I’m here and I was in the race and I wanted to win,” Grevers said, according to USA Swimming. “I guess I’m just inspired to get back to my best.”
Men’s 100m Backstroke Results
Gold: Xu Jiayu (CHN) — 52.44
Silver: Matt Grevers (USA) — 52.48
Bronze: Ryan Murphy (USA) — 52.59
4. Ryosuke Irie (JPN) — 53.03
5. Grigory Tarasevich (RUS) — 53.12
6. Mitch Larkin (AUS) — 53.24
7. Guilherme Guido (BRA) — 53.66
8. Corey Main (NZL) — 53.87
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