Matt Grevers relishes ovation after Olympic bid falls short

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FILE – In this Monday, July 22, 2019 file photo, United States’ Matt Grevers reacts after his swim in the men’s 100m backstroke semifinal at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. Grevers finished sixth in the 100-meter backstroke final at the U.S. Olympic trials on Tuesday night, June 15, 2021 dashing his bid for a third games.

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Matt Grevers climbed out of the pool, yanked off his cap and began walking off the deck. He wasn’t done, though.

He stopped just before going downstairs, waving and smiling in the direction of the standing ovation from a corner of the arena. At age 36, it was likely the last one of his decorated swimming career.

“I almost started crying,” he said.

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Grevers finished sixth in the 100-meter backstroke final at the U.S. Olympic trials on Tuesday night, dashing his bid for a third games. Defending Olympic champion Ryan Murphy won in 52.33 seconds. Hunter Armstrong, a 20-year-old out of Ohio State, earned the second spot for Tokyo.

“A changing of the guard,” Grevers said. “The young guys swimming 52s at this meet is pretty awesome.”

Grevers finished in 53.27.

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“I knew if I wanted to make the team I had to go pretty hard,” he said.

Murphy recalled finishing sixth at the 2012 trials as a 16-year-old when Grevers won.

“He came down those stairs and patted me on the shoulder and told me, ‘You’re next, man,’” he said. “He’s always someone who’s given me a lot of confidence.”

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Grevers went on to earn his only individual Olympic gold in London. In 2008, he took silver in the 100 back and he owns three gold medals from swimming relays.

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