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RIO DE JANEIRO — Even with a new lineup, American men’s dominance of the Olympic backstroke events continued Monday night.
Ryan Murphy and David Plummer both landed on the medal podium in the 100-meter backstroke, outdueling Australian star Mitch Larkin in an anticipated showdown. University of California, Berkeley, student Murphy, long heralded as the future of backstroke in the U.S., took gold and set an Olympic record in 51.97. Plummer, at 31 years of age an unlikely first-time Olympian, took bronze at 52.40. China’s Xu Jiayu won the silver in 52.31. Larkin, who led early, finished fourth.
“The adrenaline is going so hard for me right now, I don’t even feel tired just because I’m so excited,” Murphy said. “This means everything to me. I’ve been swimming for 16 years and to have it come to this is just a dream come true.”
American men now have won gold in the 100 back in six-straight Olympics. This also was the third-straight Games in which Americans won two medals in the event.
Murphy will be back in action in the 200 back later in the meet. Both men may swim a leg in the 400-medley relay on the last day of the meet, one in preliminary heats and one in finals.