By John Lohn
Photos by Peter H. Bick
MONTREAL, Canada, July 26. SEVERAL months before the World Championships got rolling, there was talk of a one-two finish for the United States in the men’s 100 backstroke. Now, that possibility has become a reality. Leaving no doubt that America owns the two-lap dorsal, Aaron Peirsol and Randall Bal earned gold and silver on Tuesday night.
The world-record holder, Peirsol posted a time of 53.62, allowing him to reach the wall comfortably ahead of Bal, who finished with a mark of 54.02. Peirsol was the leader at the halfway mark and was under world-record pace before slowing slightly in the closing 50. From Longhorn Aquatics, Peirsol owns five of the six fastest times in history, including his global standard of 53.17.
Better known for his ability in the individual medley disciplines, Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh claimed the bronze medal, as his swim of 54.27 held off the 54.31 mark of Japan’s Tomomi Morita. Cseh is the overwhelming favorite to win gold in the 400 I.M. and is expected to earn a place on the medal podium in the 200 I.M.
Russia’s Arkady Vyatchanin was fifth in 54.50 and sixth place went to Greece’s Aristeidis Grigoriadis in 54.61. The Olympic silver medalist, Austria’s Markus Rogan was seventh with a time of 54.81 and was followed in eighth by Slovenia’s Blaz Medvesek (55.13).