U.S. Olympic Trials: Flash Aaron Peirsol Ties World Record in 200 Back

By John Lohn

OMAHA, Nebraska, July 4. AARON Peirsol is back on top of the 200 backstroke.

About 15 months after losing his world record in the event to teammate Ryan Lochte, and watching his seven-year winning streak come to an end at the World Championships in Melbourne, Peirsol responded in the four-lap back by tying Lochte's world record of 1:54.32. Lochte was just behind in 1:54.34.

The race will go down as one of the finest in the history of the Olympic Trials, as the backstroke aces dueled one another for the entire 200 meters, much to the delight of the crowd of 14,000. Lochte touched at the 50 in 27.34, just ahead of the 27.36 of Peirsol. At the 100, it was Peirsol in 56.05, to the 56.15 of Lochte. At the 150, Peirsol touched in 1:25.24 to the 1:25.48 of Lochte.

Lochte's splits from 2007 for comparison were:
26.88, 55.67 (28.79), 1:25.05 (29.38), 1:54.32 (29.27)

When this duo arrives in Beijing, it's difficult to imagine them finishing anywhere but on the top two steps of the medal podium, such is their dominance. Peirsol is the defending Olympic champion and won three world titles in 2001, 2003 and 2005. Lochte, meanwhile, also owns a piece of the world record and is the 2007 world champ.

"We almost tied there," Peirsol said. "It was an incredible race. I saw his arms flailing alongside me. At one point, I thought he was a little ahead. Another, I thought he was a little behind. We were just playing with each other out there."

Finishing in third place, although in another realm, was Tyler Clary (1:57.35). Rexford Tullius, swimming in Lane One, picked up fourth place in 1:57.79 and was followed by Nick Thoman in 1:58.17 and Chris DeJong in 1:58.21. The field was rounded out by Cory Chitwood (1:58.39) and Patrick Schirk (1:59.88).

Full Results

Video Footage Removed Due to NBC Restrictions
Go to Swimming World's 2008 Olympics Landing Page for the most comprehensive coverage of the meet on the Internet.

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