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BARCELONA, Spain, July 29. USA’s Matt Grevers shook off a jammed finger en route to posting the first sub-53 second time in the world this year in the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the FINA World Championships.
Grevers produced a sizzling time of 52.97 for the top time in the world, beating the 53.09 turned in by Jeremy Stravius at French Nationals earlier this year. Grevers, and/or second-seeded teammate David Plummer (53.10), will be looking to return the title back to the U.S. for the first time since 2007.
USA had owned the title for three years with Aaron Peirsol pushing out a threepeat in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Junya Koga (2009) and Camille Lacourt/Stravius (2011), however, have kept the title out of the hands of the Americans for quite some time now.
Stravius, meanwhile, is in position to defend his title with a third-ranked 53.23. He looked to have struggled a bit this morning, likely a bit of an emotional hangover after his epic anchor leg delivered the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay title to the French last night. Lacourt also made the top eight and could defend his title as well after a fifth-ranked 53.42.
Japan’s Ryosuke Irie (53.41), Japan’s Kosuke Hagino (53.68), Australia’s Ashley Delaney (53.74) and New Zealand’s Gareth Kean (53.81) also made the finals to set up a loaded championship eight tomorrow night.