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So Close!! Piersol Has #3 All-time Performance in 200 Back Semifinals -- July 11, 2004 Aaron Peirsol is way ahead on his way to breaking the trials record in the 200 Back in his semi-final heat.

By M. Duncan Scott

LONG BEACH, Calif. July 11. – MICHAEL Phelps keeps trying to convince Aaron Piersol he needs to be worried about the 200 Backstroke.

Phelps won semi-final one in 1:57.30 to break the Olympic Trials record Lenny Krazelburg set on his way to the gold medal in Sydney. Phelps followed his regular pattern by splitting the race quite evenly, :58.10 out and :59.20 return.

Piersol responded, as he has at each direct 200 backstroke meeting with Phelps, by going out in aggressive control of his swim, as if to make a territorial statement, “This is my race, Michael.” He did it with convincing wins at the 2003 and 2004 Santa Clara International meet and now in the semi-final directly following a record swim by Phelps in the Olympic Trials.

Piersol was ahead of his own world record splits at the 50, 100 and 150 (1:25.94 to 1:26.05) before cruising in at 1:55.33 for the third fastest swim in history. After all, he had a lead of over two and one-half seconds in his semi-final, and the Sydney silver medal winner had already growled a pretty clear statement on which lion rules this pride. The world record could wait for another day. This was all about establishing control. One thing is always true about territories in the competitive world, though; they keep being challenged, and eventually, one day, there is a new king. When might that be in the 200 Backstroke? There is a final tomorrow night, another in the never ending series of tests.

Piersol’s performance works with his world record swim to make a “Phelps sandwich” as Michael holds the number two all-time spot at 1:55.30 from USA Swimming’s 2004 Spring National Championships.

The level of Piersol’s identity with this event is reflected in that he now holds 7 of the 10 best performances ever, knocking Martin Zubero’s 1991 world mark of 1:56.57 from the list. Interestingly, the 2004 American Olympic team fills out the entire list, as only two Phelps swims and Krazelburg’s Sydney win join Piersol’s marks.

Krazelburg has already earned a spot on the team in the 100 Backstroke and chose not attempt a defense of his 200 backstroke gold medal. Maybe his instincts said the two battling for this territory are enough.

Four other men broke two minutes and could step forward if a leader slips: Chris DeJong, Michigan, 1:59.11; Bryce Hunt, Auburn, 1:59.21; Hongzhe Sun, Iolani/Stanford, 1:59.67 and Doug Van Wie, Auburn, 1:59.99. It took 2:01.36 to final.


Official Results courtesy of USA Swimming:

USA Swimming-National Meets
2004 U. S. Olympic Team Trials - 7/7/2004 to 7/14/2004

Event 18 Men 200 LC Meter Backstroke
==================================================================
World: W 1:55.15 3/20/2002 Aaron Peirsol, Irvine Nova
American: A 1:55.15 3/20/2002 Aaron Peirsol, Irvine Nova
U.S. Open: O 1:55.15 3/20/2002 Aaron Peirsol, Irvine Nova
Meet: M 1:57.31 8/14/2000 Lenny Krayzelburg, Trojan
Oly. Tr. Cut: 2:04.19
Name Age Team Prelims Semis
==================================================================
=== Semis ===

1 Peirsol, Aaron 20 Irvine Novaquati 1:58.89 1:55.33M
27.37 56.42 (29.05)
1:25.94 (29.52) 1:55.33 (29.39)
2 Phelps, Michael 19 North Baltimore 1:59.94 1:57.30M
28.31 58.10 (29.79)
1:28.25 (30.15) 1:57.30 (29.05)
3 DeJong, Chris 20 Univ. Of Michiga 2:01.17 1:59.11
28.33 58.40 (30.07)
1:28.73 (30.33) 1:59.11 (30.38)
4 Hunt, Bryce 22 Auburn Aquatics 2:00.77 1:59.21
28.51 58.42 (29.91)
1:28.63 (30.21) 1:59.21 (30.58)
5 Sun, Hongzhe 18 Iolani Swim Club 2:00.41 1:59.67
28.46 58.77 (30.31)
1:29.43 (30.66) 1:59.67 (30.24)
6 Van Wie, Doug 20 Auburn Aquatics/ 2:01.91 1:59.99
28.76 59.50 (30.74)
1:30.23 (30.73) 1:59.99 (29.76)
7 Westcott, Dan 23 The Woodlands Sw 2:00.39 2:00.19
28.09 58.40 (30.31)
1:29.45 (31.05) 2:00.19 (30.74)
8 Wagner, Luke 22 University Of Vi 2:01.95 2:01.36
28.77 59.52 (30.75)
1:30.71 (31.19) 2:01.36 (30.65)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
9 Staley, Trent 22 Usc 2:01.76 2:01.45
29.03 1:00.11 (31.08)
1:31.21 (31.10) 2:01.45 (30.24)
10 Hartley, Brian 20 Wash. Twp. Wave/ 2:03.24 2:02.73
29.05 1:00.43 (31.38)
1:31.95 (31.52) 2:02.73 (30.78)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
11 Vayo, Louis 18 Fast Swim Team 2:04.66 2:02.83
29.00 1:00.55 (31.55)
1:31.48 (30.93) 2:02.83 (31.35)
12 Wike, James 20 New Trier Swim C 2:03.38 2:03.03
28.51 59.68 (31.17)
1:31.53 (31.85) 2:03.03 (31.50)
13 Clark, Ian 19 Suburban Swim Ce 2:03.19 2:03.11
29.19 1:00.71 (31.52)
1:32.35 (31.64) 2:03.11 (30.76)
14 McGinnis, Matthew 18 Raleigh Swimming 2:02.82 2:03.34
29.70 1:00.87 (31.17)
1:31.98 (31.11) 2:03.34 (31.36)
15 Wiebeck, Kristopher 21 Gator Swim Club/ 2:04.72 2:03.37
29.14 1:00.47 (31.33)
1:31.84 (31.37) 2:03.37 (31.53)
16 Schirk, Patrick 16 Pottstown YMCA/O 2:04.09 2:06.05
29.25 1:00.88 (31.63)
1:33.54 (32.66) 2:06.05 (32.51)

=== Preliminaries ===

17 Shevchik, Daniel 23 Irvine Novaquati 2:05.36
18 Barlow, Chad 21 Auburn Aquatics/ 2:05.37
19 Plummer, David 18 Kerr-Mcgee Swim/ 2:05.44
20 Patterson, John 20 Cypress Fairbank 2:05.61
21 Leach, Matthew 23 Indiana Swim Tea 2:06.21
22 McDermott, Caleb 18 Longhorn Aquatic 2:07.09
23 Wolfe, Michael 18 ConocoPhillips S 2:07.63
24 Underhill, Jefferson 22 Louisville's Rev 2:10.76
-- Marshall, Peter 22 Stanford Swimmin DQ
-- Kennedy, Patrick 24 Greater Toledo A

Results: US Olympic Trials