Ryan Murphy, Olympic champion in the 100m backstroke, and Jacob Pebley, both making their Olympic debut in Rio, advanced safely into the 200m backstroke semifinal on Wednesday evening.
Murphy and Pebley, training partners at the University of California, Berkeley, raced to third and fourth places, respectively, overall in the semifinals. Pebley’s time of one minute, 54.92 seconds was about a quarter of a second faster than Murphy’s time.
2015 World Champion Mitch Larkin also made it into the final in second place.
Five different U.S. men have taken gold medals in the 200m backstroke in every Olympic Games for the past two decades: 1996 (Bradley Bridgewater), Lenny Krayzelburg (2000), Aaron Peirsol (2004), Ryan Lochte (2008) and Tyler Clary (2012).