IRVINE — Aaron Peirsol was night and day on the first day of the Pan Pacific Championships.
He went from being out of contention in the 100-meter backstroke to winning it. What a crazy nine hours for the former Newport Harbor High star.
The home-field advantage did not help Peirsol qualify out of Wednesday morning's heat to the finale, but his U.S. teammate Ryan Lochte did. Lochte opted out of the 100 backstroke to focus on other events, opening the door for Peirsol to be the second American in the evening's race.
The hometown swimmer got his chance to thank Lochte in a big way. The first person Peirsol mentioned after getting out of the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center was Lochte.
Peirsol defended his 100-backstroke title at the Pan Pacific finals after finishing strong in 53.31 seconds, breaking the meet's previous record of 53.32 set by Peirsol four years ago.