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Short Course World Champs, Day Three: Germany's Rupprath Tops Field in Men's 50 Back Semis -- October 9, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS, October 9. THE men's 50-meter backstroke final features three current and one former world record-holder in the dorsal discipline. To win this event you've got to be fast, baby. That's F-A-S-T, fast!

In this evening's semifinals, Australia's Matt Welsh, who holds the world standard in this event at 23.31, posted a 24.16, which makes him the fourth fastest qualifier for tomorrow's final.

Aaron Peirsol, a triple Olympic gold medalist in Athens, holds the long course standards over 100 and 200 meters backstroke, plus the short coure 200 meters. Tonight he clocked 24.11, placing him third for the final.

The second-fastest time, 23.93, was recorded by the USA's Peter Marshall, who holds the record for the short course 100 back.

But the top time today -- 23.82 -- was posted by Germany's Thomas Rupprath, who held the world record in this event until Welsh broke it two years ago.

Four other men will be in the final, with 24.79 needed to make the final, but the battle for three medals will probably boil down to a clash among Welsh, Peirsol, Marshall and Rupprath;