At times in his life, Peirsol has been at a crossroads. Because
his path has been geared toward gold in the Olympics, choices have
been made, sacrifices, too, all of it leading up to the summer of
Aaron Peirsol's time has come. A new story is developing.
The former Newport Harbor High star swimmer will be in the U.S.
Olympic trials as the favorite in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke
Wednesday through July 14 in the newly built Charter All-Digital
Aquatic Centre in Long Beach. He is expected to be on the U.S.
Olympic team in both events, as well as the 400 medley relay,
competing in Athens, Greece in August.
Peirsol, 20, who recently finished his sophomore year at the
University of Texas, has signed a lucrative contract with Nike,
forfeiting his final two years of NCAA eligibility. He said he is
ready and wants to win three gold medals in Athens. The world record
holder in the 200 back said he has been strengthened by the support
of his community, family and friends.
The people Peirsol has learned from have made him into the man he
is today. While swimming is such an individualistic sport, Peirsol is
aware he would not get to the pinnacle of his profession without the
help of others. Still, he has had moments when he fought battles on
his own ... even as a child.
A new father
Peirsol doesn't like to speak about the time his family was made
up of his mother, Wella, and his younger sister, Hayley, who is also
competing in the Olympic trials. But it's a key factor that has
played into his maturation. Peirsol's father, Scott, did not play
much of a role in Peirsol's childhood.
When Peirsol was 6, he, his mother and sister, left their home in
Florida, retreating from their past and starting anew in Orange
"It's safe to say that I don't have a relationship with my
biological father," Peirsol said. "The last time I spoke with him was
five months ago. I really don't like to talk about that."
Peirsol's mother said Scott tried to establish a relationship with
his son this year for the first time in a long time.
"To see his father show up again, I think, that was a painful