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Peirsol captures gold in Athens

August 17, 2004

Newport Harbor High alum Aaron Peirsol grabbed his first gold medal

of the Athens Olympics in the 100-meter backstroke Monday, one of

three swimming events he will compete in. Peirsol finished in 54.06

seconds for the victory while Markus Rogan of Austria (54.35) and

Japan's Tomomi Morita (54.36) battled for the silver and bronze

medals.

Lenny Krayzelburg, who holds the Olympic and world records in the

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event, finished fourth in 54.38. Krayzelburg won the gold in the 100

and 200 back in the 2000 Olympics in Syndey, Australia.

Peirsol's next event will be the 200 back, the event in which he

won silver at the Sydney Olympics and set a world record at the

recent Olympic trials in Long Beach. His preliminary race will be

Wednesday at 12:30 a.m. Pacific time. The semifinals follow Wednesday

at 9:50 a.m. with the finals Thursday also at 9:50 a.m.

Peirsol's final event is the 400 medley relay, which starts Friday

at 2 a.m. The finals are Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

In other Olympic competition:

Corona del Mar High product Taylor Dent beat Canada's Fred

Niemeyer, 6-2- 3-6, 6-4, in the first round of the tennis tournament.

Dent, ranked No. 59 in the Association of Tennis Professionals, faced

Slovakia's Dominki Hrbaty late Monday night. Hrbaty, No. 16 on the

ATP, beat Morocco's Younes El Aynaoui, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the

second round.

UC Irvine products Peter Wells and Lanee Butler-Beashel completed

their first windsurfing races. Wells finished 20th out of 32

finishers in the first men's race. There are 11 races contested by

each entrant and winners are determined by overall point standings

based on placement in each race.

His time of 39 minutes, 34 seconds was 3:58 behind Poland's

Przemyslaw, who finished first.

Butler-Beashel, who finished fourth at the Sydney Games, sailed

two races and is currently in 16th place out of 26. The three-time

U.S. Sailing Female Athlete of the Year finished her first race in

13th place and her second in 16th. Butler-Beashel has 29 points after

Italy's Alessandra Sensini leads the women with eight points after

finishing seventh and first in the two races.

Both men's and women's windsurfing is scheduled to continue

Wednesday at 3 a.m.

While Wells and Butler-Beashel were just beginning their Olympic

competition, another Anteater concluded hers. Lara Bjargdottir, a

swimmer who will be a junior in the fall, finished fourth in her

preliminary heat of the women's individual medley. Bjargdottir, who

swam for Iceland, finished in 2:22.00. The slowest qualifying time

for the semifinals was 2:17.27.

The U.S. men's water polo team, including former Anteaters Genai

Kerr, Jeff Powers, Omar Amr, Dan Klatt and Ryan Bailey, play

Kazakhstan today at 6:30 a.m. Coming off a dramatic last-second goal

to beat Croatia, the U.S. (1-0) will face a physical Kazakhstan team

(0-1) that lost it's opening game to Russia, 5-2.

The game is scheduled to be aired on MSNBC at 4:25 PST, but times

and channels are subject to change.

Newport Harbor product Misty May and her beach volleyball partner

Kerri Walsh played Marrit Leenstra and Rebekka Kadijk from the

Netherlands earlier today at 3 a.m.

May-Walsh defeated Japan's Ryoko Tokuno and Chiaki Kusuhara, 21-9,

21-16, in their first match of pool play.

Leenstra-Kadijk lost, 21-19, 21-16, to Eva Celbova and Sona

Novakova of the Czech Republic.

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