Nationals Preview: Q&A with Breeja Larson and Ryan Murphy


The 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships is now one week away. The meet promises to be the biggest national-level meet of the quad outside of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, with spots on five international team rosters at stake.


Swimmers will be vying to make not only the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships team, but also the 2015 World Championship team, the 2015 World university Games team, the 2015 Pan American Games team and the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships.


Olympian Breeja Larson and National Teamer Ryan Murphy are two swimmers who both have their sights set on competing at Pan Pacs next month in Gold Coast, Australia. They recently took some time to answer some questions about the upcoming national championships.


Breeja Larson holding her Olympic gold medal. (Medium)Breeja Larson

Which events will you be swimming? 
I will be swimming the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and also the 50 freestyle


Which events are you looking forward to swimming the most, and why? 
I'm excited for all of my events. This is the first time I will be swimming the 50 free long-course, tapered, so I'm excited to see the results of that.


What are your goals for the meet? 
My goals for the meet are to make the Pan Pacs team and to go best times.


Which event/s other than yours are you most looking forward to watching? 

That's a hard question to answer. I really enjoy watching all my friends swim, so really, all of the A finals for every event are fun to watch. I guess the sprint events are my favorite.


Do you have any rituals/superstitions before you race?
Before my races I like to keep calm. Sometimes I listen to some music, and other times I'll find a quiet corner and stretch. 


What song best describes you or your situation as you head into this meet? Why? 
I would say after NCAAs and going pro, the song I thought that came along just in time was, "Ain't It Fun," by Paramore, in the sense that I have to make big decisions, and I'm more responsible for my training. I'm no longer in the NCAA bubble now, and my competition is in a much bigger pool that still seems pretty new to me. I still have a lot of support and help, but I can't have people make decisions for me anymore. It's new, scary, and exciting. I felt like after high school, I had so much freedom, and it was all very exciting, and now after college, choosing to go pro, it's like that whole process all over again, but now in the "real world," as people call it.


What’s your favorite pre-race meal? 
I like pasta or salmon with chocolate milk for dinners during meets, and I like turkey Subway sandwiches for lunches before my races.  I guess that's a superstitious lunch, but it seems to have worked a time for two.


If you could have any celebrity come watch your race at Nationals, who would it be, and why? 
That's a hard question! I would love to hang out with James Franco. He just seems like a fun guy to be around.  Jennifer Lawrence or Haley Williams would also be pretty cool.  I feel like the list could go on forever.


If you meet all your goals at this meet, how will you celebrate? 
Probably go to a seafood dinner with my family, teammates and coaches. This time around, I don't think the National Team has much time before they leave for the big international meet, so the celebrating might have to wait a couple weeks.


Pretend your life at this meet and the weeks leading up to it were being made into a movie. What would this movie be called, and who would play you? What’s the plot?   
The movie would be called Water Geared. It would be awesome to put Blake Lively or Hilary Swank playing my role.  The plot would probably be like any other sports movie, the athlete training hard, and becoming slightly obsessed with the end goal of beating their competition. 


If you were to design your own suit or cap for this meet, what would it look like? 
I would have the suit be black, and have it slowly fade into the American flag down side of the legs, and the same look for the cap.


Since you love being in the water, if you could be any water animal, what would it be and why? 
It would be fun to be a sea otter. They seem to have fun and play every day.  Sounds pretty relaxing. :)

Ryan Murphy swimming backstroke. (Medium)Ryan Murphy

What race are you most looking forward to watching?
The 100 fly. There are a lot of big names in that race, and I am excited to see what some of those guys can do.


What song is playing on your iPod before you race?
I try not to get myself too excited and too worked up before a race, so probably some country songs.


What is your favorite pre-race meal?
Peanut butter and jelly. My mom always made it for me when I was younger, so I stick to what I know. I have to stick with the PB&J game. 


If you could have any celebrity come watch you race at Nationals, who would it be and why?
Blake Lively. If I can’t swim fast with someone that pretty watching me, then I must not be a very fast swimmer. She is my celebrity crush.


If you meet all of your goals at Nationals, how will you celebrate?
I will probably go into the city and have a nice dinner. I will definitely have some ice cream. I haven’t had ice cream in a month, and I am seriously craving it at the moment. 


If your life leading up to Nationals was made into a movie, what would it be called, and who would play you?
That would be the most boring movie ever. Leonardo DiCaprio would play me, because he is awesome. The name would be “Really Boring,” because it would just be a terrible movie. It’s taper time, so all I am doing is swimming, taking a summer school class, and sitting on the couch and watching TV. I don’t think anyone would want to watch that.


If you were going to design your own suit and swim camp for Nationals, what would it look like?
I like the Cal cap, so I will stick with that. For my suit, I’d want a water-proof seersucker suit. I’m from Florida, and it is kind of preppy down there, so I’d really like that.


If you could be any water animal, what would it be and why?
A killer whale. I would rule everything in the ocean and wouldn’t have to worry about anyone eating me!