Ryan Murphy achieved his dream of becoming and Olympian in 2016, where he brought home 3 gold medals for the USA and set a World Record while he was at it. In his spare time, the backstroke star enjoys playing golf and advocating for youth water safety.
We spoke to Ryan about pre-race rituals, how he relaxes and how he deals with bad days.
Q: Do you have a pre-race ritual, and do you think all swimmers need one?
I have a couple! The first is the food I eat. Before every finals session I’ll have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a banana and a yoghurt. This started when I was younger, and my mum would pack us a PB&J and a banana for long clubs meets. I did a couple of meets in college without them and I felt off my game, so I always have them now! I also wear socks for whatever group I’m representing, usually Cal or USA. I think having rituals depends on the person and some people don’t have them, but if there’s something that works for you, then stick to it.”
Q: What are your tips for relaxing after a big meet?
Big swims usually come at the end of the year. After that, all the pressure is off, so I’ll eat whatever I want, go out with my friends, and do sports that are too risky during the season like basketball and football. I’d say do whatever you need to do to relax and enjoy it!
Q: How do you overcome off-days and mental challenges?
Every day is a series of choices, and I’ve had enough days to know that I feel my best when I go to practice with clear objectives and goals. There’s no magic quote or saying, it’s just an innate understanding that I expect the best of myself. If I don’t go in with objectives and goals, I feel off the game, so I always stay focused and that helps.
Q: Finally, what are your top training tips for aspiring athletes?
- The kick is the foundation of the stroke
- Don’t neglect your core
- Listen to your coaches
- Don’t be afraid of hard work
- Invest in your teammates
You can find out more about Ryan here.