U.S. World Champs Trials, Day 2 Finals: Peirsol Caught Off Guard by World Record Swim; Bal Collects Invite to Montreal

By John Lohn
Photos by Peter Bick

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., April 2. USUALLY, you can sense a world-record performance. At the very least, the athlete himself has an inkling something special could happen. Except for Saturday night.

The reigning Olympic champ in both backstroke events from the Athens Olympics, Aaron Peirsol got the Indy crowd jumping with a world-record performance of 53.17 in the 100 backstroke. Randall Bal was second in a very solid 54.01. Even with his impressive credentials, Peirsol was startled by the development.

“I think it’s rare you surprise yourself like that,” Peirsol said. “It’s good that I still can. I’ve done a lot at my level, and to still surprise myself once in a while … it was interesting. I don’t know what that was all about.”

Peirsol entered this competition with his 100 back global standard sitting at 53.45, the result of his leadoff leg from the United States' world-record setting 400 medley relay in Athens. By the time he was done racing Saturday night, he had hacked .28 off the record.

Seeded first for the championship final, Peirsol found himself in second place at the turn, trailing Bal, 25.92-25.96. Peirsol, though, powered through the last 50 meters to win convincingly. Expected to race Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in Tuesday's 200 back, the question is whether Peirsol can lower his world record in that event.

For Bal, the Stanford product was fourth at last year's Olympic Trials, despite swimming a time that would have made noise at the Athens Games. This time, there was no disappointment. Bal finished comfortably ahead of Peter Marshall and Matt Grevers, who tied for third in 54.59.

Event 9 Men 100 LC Meter Backstroke
==================================================================
World: W 53.45 8/21/2004 Aaron Peirsol, USA
American: A 53.45 8/21/2004 Aaron Peirsol, USA
U.S. Open: O 53.64 7/9/2004 Aaron Peirsol, Irvine Nova
Oly Trials08: T 57.99
Meet Cut: 58.69
Name Age Team Prelims Finals FINA
==================================================================
=== A – Final ===

1 Peirsol, Aaron 21 Longhorn Aquatic 54.94 53.17W 1043
r:+0.66 25.96 53.17 (27.21)
2 Bal, Randall 24 Unattached/Stanf 55.04 54.01T 996
r:+0.56 25.92 54.01 (28.09)
3 Grevers, Matt 20 Northwestern Uni 55.12 54.59T 964
r:+0.64 26.57 54.59 (28.02)
3 Marshall, Peter 23 Unattached/Stanf 55.49 54.59T 964
r:+0.56 26.30 54.59 (28.29)
5 Hunt, Bryce 22 Auburn Aquatics 55.69 55.83T 901
r:+0.72 27.52 55.83 (28.31)
6 Wike, James 21 Auburn Aquatics 56.30 55.96T 895
r:+0.75 27.28 55.96 (28.68)
7 Rohleder, Danie 18 U. of Texas 56.31 56.15T 886
r:+0.66 27.18 56.15 (28.97)
8 Van Wie, Doug 20 Auburn Aquatics/ 56.40 56.55T 867
r:+0.55 27.85 56.55 (28.70)

=== B – Final ===

9 Sun, Hongzhe 19 Stanford Univ. 56.77 56.41T 874
r:+0.66 27.70 56.41 (28.71)
10 Barlow, Chad 22 Auburn Aquatics/ 56.64 56.94T 850
r:+0.61 27.59 56.94 (29.35)
11 #King, Nathan 20 Ohio State Unive 57.60 56.96T 849
r:+0.70 28.08 56.96 (28.88)
12 Plummer, David 19 Unattached 56.78 57.01T 847
r:+0.70 27.88 57.01 (29.13)
13 Masson, Samuel 20 U of S. Californ 57.36 57.26T 835
r:+0.61 28.39 57.26 (28.87)
14 Chapman, Craig 21 Cypress Fairbank 57.62 57.45T 827
r:+0.71 27.82 57.45 (29.63)
15 #Godsoe, Eugene 17 Greensboro Swimm 57.60 57.60T 821
r:+0.71 27.83 57.60 (29.77)
16 Sacco, Thomas 20 U. of Texas 57.45 57.75T 814
r:+0.54 27.64 57.75 (30.11)

=== C – Final ===

17 Goodrich, Scott 18 Auburn Aquatics 57.89 56.97T 848
r:+0.67 27.52 56.97 (29.45)
18 Mitchell, Adam 21 Univ Minnesota/C 57.67 57.53T 824
r:+0.55 28.05 57.53 (29.48)
19 Staley, Trent 23 King 57.78 57.57T 822
r:+0.64 28.01 57.57 (29.56)
20 Hafkin, Joshua 16 Rockville Montgo 57.67 57.63T 819
r:+0.64 27.96 57.63 (29.67)
21 Clark, Ian 20 Southern Methodi 58.30 57.65T 819
r:+0.57 28.18 57.65 (29.47)
22 Russell, David 18 New England Barr 58.19 58.32 791
r:+0.72 28.37 58.32 (29.95)
23 #Lemyre, Robert 20 Ohio State Unive 57.71 58.42 787
r:+0.63 28.09 58.42 (30.33)
24 #Grenda, Dane 18 U. Of Michigan/T 58.27 58.63 778
r:+0.59 28.47 58.63 (30.16)

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Author: Archive Team

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