By Sarah Tolar
LONG BEACH, Calif., July 9. IT was the Aaron and Lenny show once again. In the men’s 100 backstroke final, one of the tightest races thus far, Aaron Peirsol touched the wall first, with a time of 53.64. He was only four one-hundreths of a second off Lenny Krayzelburg’s world record. But he was none too concerned with that, only with seeing the number one next to his name on the scoreboard.
“I was a little off the world record, but I’m not really worried about that right now. Not in a field like the one we were racing in,” Peirsol said.
The race for second was won by 2000 Olympic gold medalist, Lenny Krayzelburg, who finished with a time of 54.06. He has battled back from shoulder surgery after the Sydney Games, and succeeded despite the skeptics. But Stanford teammates, Peter Marshall and Randall Bal were not going to let him have the spot without a fight. Krayzelburg, who was fourth as the tightly-bunched field passed under the flags, called on his patented finish to out-touch Marshall by a mere four one-hundreths of a second. Bal, who swam in second place most of the race, was only a tenth behind that.
1996 Olympic gold medalist Jeff Rouse, who launched a fierce comeback campaign after a six-year hiatus, finished in sixth with a time of 55.01.