Steered toward the pool by his mother, Connor Murphy ended his swimming career with the Little Rocky Run Stingrays the summer after his seventh grade year. With his own rapidly improving times, James Murphy, then 10, delivered the message that his older brother’s time and energy would be better spent elsewhere.

“It was just not my thing,” Connor Murphy said with a smile. “James is three years younger and he was already beating me, so it was time to stop.”

In the five years since then, the Murphy brothers have taken different athletic paths to get to the top of their chosen sports. Connor is a senior lacrosse player at Paul VI, while James is a freshman swimmer at Robinson, and both were named first-team All-Met this year.

Robinson freshman James Murphy claimed state gold in the 100 free on the way to All-Met honors. (Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post) Robinson freshman James Murphy claimed state gold in the 100 free on the way to first-team All-Met honors. (Doug Kapustin/For The Washington Post)

Growing up in Clifton, James Murphy was always big for his age, and strangers sometimes mistook the siblings for twins. (These days, James, at 6-foot-1, is taller than 5-foot-11 Connor.) James did his best to keep up with Connor, and the older brother usually appreciated the competition, even if he quickly tired of getting scorched in the pool.

As a freshman, James Murphy burst on the high school swimming scene this winter, helping the Rams to a Virginia AAA state title with a win in the 100 freestyle (45.70 seconds). He was the only freshman to make the first-team All-Met list.

“Seeing how focused [Connor] was with his sport, I knew I had to do that with swimming,” said James Murphy, who considered playing lacrosse at the Fairfax public school but has opted to focus on swimming. “I’ve always tried to be as good at swimming as he was at lacrosse.”

Paul VI senior Connor Murphy will play lacrosse at Rutgers next year. (Ray K. Saunders/The Washington Post) Paul VI senior Connor Murphy will play lacrosse at Rutgers next year. (Ray K. Saunders/The Washington Post)

James Murphy’s sparkling debut effort set the bar high for Connor’s senior lacrosse season at Paul VI. The older brother had already skipped the soccer season to prepare for lacrosse, and the dedication paid off.

In his fourth year as a varsity starter, Connor Murphy proceeded to register 77 goals and 22 assists in a 20-win breakout campaign for the Panthers. The Rutgers-bound attackman earned first-team Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, U.S. Lacrosse All-American and first-team All-Met honors for his efforts.

“There were definitely some bragging rights at stake,” said Connor Murphy, who also considered offers to play at Bucknell, Villanova and Towson.

As the annual All-Met luncheon approached, James asked his brother if he wanted to attend as one of his three allotted guests.

The plan was for their parents, Robert and Katie, to go with their younger sister, Elizabeth, until Connor found out he’d earned his own invitation. All five Murphys were in attendance along with Paul VI lacrosse coach Bob Waters for the event in the District last week.

“It was special to be able to share it with him,” Connor Murphy said. “It was something for the whole family to remember for a long time.”


The number of Bowl Championship Subdivision scholarship offers for Stonewall Jackson junior quarterback Greg Stroman after he added one from Virginia over the weekend. He also has Virginia Tech on his list of suitors.


Three days after orally committing to play basketball the University of Maryland, Potomac (Md.) junior Dion Wiley took his official visit to College Park on Monday.


– The D.C. State Athletic Association put Friendship Collegiate football assistant Khenny Wonson on probation for a year on Monday for using Twitter to recruit H.D. Woodson All-Met D’Andre Payne to the school.

– After winning its second Virginia state title in three years, the Madison girls’ lacrosse team should return most of its top players next spring, including Ohio State recruit Katie Kerrigan.