Big error costly for Peirsol

Former Newport Harbor High standout gets knocked out in the semifinals of the 100 back at the world championships Monday.

July 27, 2009

ROME — It was only three weeks ago that Aaron Peirsol added to his legend lowering the world record in the 100-meter backstroke.

But at the FINA World Championships Monday, the former Newport Harbor High standout received a crushing blow: he failed to even reach the finals of the 100 back.

According to the Associated Press, Peirsol, who is also a two-time Olympic champ in the 100 back, wanted to save energy for the final swim. But that turned out to be a huge mistake. He was knocked out in the semifinals, finishing in 53.22 seconds, almost a full second behind the top qualifier, Japan’s Junya Koga (52.39). Peirsol was behind a tenth of a second from the eighth spot, the last that advances to the final.


Perisol, the three-time defending world champion in the 100 back, was left in disbelief.

“It’s just a huge miscalculation,” Peirsol told the Associated Press. “I thought I was in a much better place, but if you’re looking straight up you don’t see much.”

Earlier in the week, Peirsol told the media that it would most likely take a world record-breaking performance to win the 100 back in Italy. With controversial bodysuits being worn by the swimmers, 11 world records have been broken in two days of action. Five records fell on Monday. The body suits that have caused a stir will be banned starting in 2010 and this should be the final major meet they will be used.

Peirsol, who competes in the 200 back Thursday, wore a special, high-tech suit in the 100 back semifinals. But it didn’t help.

— From staff reports

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