By Phillip Whitten
MISSION VIEJO, Calif., June 22. AARON Peirsol showed he is ready, willing and able to dominate the backstroke events at next month's World Championships.
After turning in a very strong 1:58.11 to win the 200 meter backstroke two days ago at the TYR Meet of Champions, the 19 year-old world record-holder from Irvine Novaquatics showed he's got the speed as well as the endurance. In today's best performance at Mission Viejo, he took the 100 back in a swift 55.27, beating Cal Aquatics' Alex Lim by nearly a second (56.23).
Peirsol's swim, however, was by no means the only outstanding effort this day.
Amanda Beard, Tucson Ford Aquatics, beat teammate Jessica Wagner with a come-from-behind victory in the 100 breast. The 21 year-old two-time Olympian split 33.48 on her way to a 1:09.77. Wagner was out in 33.23 and finished at 1:10.46.
Forty-one year-old Masters swimmer Caroline Krattli was 15th in 1:16.42 after going 1:15.35 in prelims.
The men's 100 breast saw 19 year-old Vlad Polyakov reprise his 200 meter win with a 1:04.19 efforts, fast enough to edge veteran Dave Denniston, 1:04.50.
Rachel Komisarz won a tight 100m fly with a come-from-behind effort. The 26 year-old Lakeside swimmer clocked 1:00.66, overtaking Bethany Goodwin — who led at the 50 in 28.01 — at 1:00.73. National champion Misty Hyman was third in 1:00.77.
Canad's Mike Mintenko had the men's 100 fly all his way. After posting a 53.73 in prelims, he took the final in 53.87 (split: 24.79), well ahead of Ryk Neethling, who touched in 54.36.
Gabrielle Rose, who earlier won the 100 and 200 free, became a triple winner with her a convincing win in the 200 IM in 2:15.88. Amanda beard was second in 2:17.05. Rose, 25, a Stanford grad amassed a three-second lead at the 100 mark, then fought off Beard's challenge in the breaststroke leg that cut that margin in half. In the final 50, Beard was able to reduce Rose's lead, but the NOVA ace held off the challenge for the win.
Ous Mellouli, the pride of Tunisia, had an easier time of it in the men's medley, taking a wire-to-wire win with his 2:06.29. John Dorr was second in 2:09.12.
Tucson Ford's Beth Botsford, the 1996 Olympic champ, won the 100 back in 1:03.12, overtaking Maureen farrell, canyons, on the final stroke. Farrell touched 3-hundredths later.
Kaitlin Sandeno, Trojan S.C., won her second event of the meet, taking the 1500 free in 16:53.91, more than 12 seconds ahead of Stephani Andrew, AFOX, 17:06.40.
The men's 1500 featured a stroke-for-stroke duel between Erik Vendt, 22, and Larsen Jensen, 17. The Mission Viejo youngster led for almost all of the first 1400 meters but the veteran Vendt overtook his rival on the final 100 meters to win, 15:32.42 to 15:33.35.