INDIANAPOLIS, IN, October 8. FOUR different competitors had a fair claim to favorite status in the Men’s 100 Backstroke, but until someone proves otherwise, the smart money is always on Aaron Peirsol when a major backstroke title is available.
Peirsol set a new Championship Record at :50.72, breaking Neil Walker’s :50.75 record from Athens 2000.
The lead qualifiers, with their 100 backstroke accomplishments, were:
Thomas Rupprath (GER) Lead qualifier and former short course world record holder at :50.58.
Aaron Peirsol (USA) Olympic champion and long course world record holder, Silver medal in 2002 Moscow FINA Short Course World Championships
Matthew Welsh (AUS) Defending champion who beat Peirsol in Moscow. Welsh has recently been treated for and recovered from a viral infection that may explain his disappointing Athens performance.
Peter Marshall (USA) This spring he took Rupprath’s world record by winning the NCAA meet for Stanford at :50.32.
Rupprath lead early and hit the wall even with Peirsol at the 75. With ten meters to go Peirsol, Rupprath and fast-closing Matt Welsh all had a chance to win, but as he does so often, when the race was on the line Peirsol imposed his will.
For several years, Peirsol has controlled any 200 backstroke in his path. In recent years he has become equally supreme in the 100, first in long course competition and now in short course as well. It was a great race.
– D. Scott