Backstroke Double to USA – Aaron Peirsol Wins his First Individual Gold

By Stephen J. Thomas

ATHENS, Greece August 16. VICTORY was sweet for Aaron Peirsol following not long after Natalie Coughlin had blazed the path. Perhaps the only thing missing was as a 1-2 finish with teammate Lenny Krayzelberg, but that was not to be.

The race went like this: Aussie silver medalist from Sydney, Matt Welsh, was keen to get back on the podium tonight. He was best away and flipped first, 0.09 of a second under Lenny K’s world record pace. Peirsol was comfortably second with Krayzelburg holding third.

On the way home, Peirsol edged to the front and looked the winner as the battle for the minor medals raged under the flags.

As Welsh struggled, Austrian Markus Rogan and Japan’s Tomomi Morita powered home, first past Welsh and then edging out Lenny at the wall.

Peirsol won handily in 54.09. Rogan (54.35) took silver, Morita (national record 54.36) the bronze with Krayzelburg (54.38) and Welsh (54.52) missing out. It was tough for Lenny, having battled injury for so long, wind up in this position.

Peirsol admitted at his press conference he had been a little nervous before his race. There were lots of good people in the race and fortunately I came out on top," he said. "It's hard to pick a better moment that this. It's very special."

Rogan said after the race he "was thrilled to win the first medal in the swimming pool for Austria since 1912. I checked out the other big names near the end of the race and when I realised I was so close I managed to find more energy for a big finish."

Men 100m Backstroke Finals

Record Split Name NOC Location Date
WR 53.60 25.97
KRAYZELBURG Lenny USA Sydney (AUS) 24 AUG 1999
OR 53.72 25.99
KRAYZELBURG Lenny USA Sydney (AUS) 18 SEP 2000

Event No: 10

Rank Lane Name NOC R.T. 50m Time Time
1 4 PEIRSOL Aaron USA 0.67 (2) 26.10 54.06
2 5 ROGAN Markus AUT 0.76 (8) 26.88 54.35
27.47 0.29
3 3 MORITA Tomomi JPN 0.54 (=6) 26.72 54.36
27.64 0.30 AS
4 6 KRAYZELBURG Lenny USA 0.67 (3) 26.38 54.38
28.00 0.32
5 7 WELSH Matt AUS 0.63 (1) 25.88 54.52
28.64 0.46
6 1 CSEH Laszlo HUN 0.61 (4) 26.48 54.61
28.13 0.55
7 2 DRIESEN Steffen GER 0.68 (5) 26.64 54.63
27.99 0.57
8 8 di CARLI Marco GER 0.58 (=6) 26.72 55.27
28.55 1.21