INDIANAPOLIS, October 7. THE USA’s Aaron Peirsol is the Olympic champion and long course world record-holder. His compatriot, Peter Marshall, holds the short course WR from the NCAA Championships in March.
But if you want to win a 100-meter backstroke in a short course pool, you have to go through Germany’s Thomas Rupprath. And that ain’t easy.
Peirsol won the first semifinal heat in a solid 51.92, leading Aussie Matt Welsh, 52.00 and Marshall, 52.24.
But Rupprath took the second heat in a much faster 51.39 – more than half a second ahead of Peirsol.
There was a tie for the eighth spot between Papua New Guinea’s Ryan Pini and Japan’s Takashi Nakano, both at 53.46. Pini won in 52.20.
Peirsol did not seem fazed by his #2 qualifying spot: “It’s a lot easier than long course, a lot faster. This week I want to have fun, meet a lot more than anything of kids. I know a lot of kids and fans came out to see the US team swim and I want them to enjoy their experience."