ROME, Italy, July 31. IN a high-profile battle to prove whether Aaron Peirsol is still the undisputed backstroke king, he came up aces in the men's 200 back finale at the FINA World Championships.
With Japan's Ryosuke Irie and compatriot Ryan Lochte lurking to take his crown, Peirsol not only beat his official world record of 1:53.08, but blasted right through the 1:52 barrier with an astounding 1:51.92. That swim also smashed the uncrowned world record (1:52.86) of Irie, which Irie clocked in a then-unapproved suit.
Here are the comparative splits between Peirsol's official records:
Tonight: 26.52, 54.90 (28.38), 1:23.30 (28.40), 1:51.92 (28.62)
July: 26.82, 55.18 (28.36), 1:24.06 (28.88), 1:53.08 (29.02)
Irie overtook Lochte down the stretch to clock a 1:52.51, under his previous personal best and Peirsol's official world record. Meanwhile, Lochte grabbed bronze with a 1:53.82 after going out under world record pace.
Russia's Arkady Vyatchanin (1:54.75), Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer (1:54.92), Russia's Stanislav Donets (1:55.36), Poland's Radoslaw Kawecki (1:55.60) and South Africa's George Du Rand (1:56.63) also swam in the final.