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Peirsol misses the cut

Briefly

Newport Harbor product has third-fastest time in 200 backstroke, but only the top two from each country can compete in the final.

August 21, 2010
  • Newport Beach's Cecil Whiteside will attend Santa Ana College to get his academics in order before moving onto Cal. He will not play football at Santa Ana.
Newport Beach's Cecil Whiteside will attend Santa… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

This time, Aaron Peirsol doesn't get a second chance at defending a backstroke gold medal at the Pan Pacific Championships.

The Newport Harbor High product on Friday could not depend on a U.S. teammate to reach the finals in his second backstroke event in as many days at the international meet.

Peirsol recorded the third-fastest time overall in the 200-meter backstroke preliminaries in the morning, but two fellow Americans finished ahead, eliminating Peirsol from the eight-man final at night at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine. Only the top two swimmers from a country can reach the finals.

The two spots for the U.S. went to Ryan Lochte and Tyler Clary, who deserved them after finishing first and second in 1 minute, 55.26 seconds and 1:55.56, respectively. Peirsol came in at 1:56.22.

Unlike Wednesday, when Lochte withdrew from the 100 backstroke final and Peirsol gained his spot and went on to win the event, Lochte and Clary did not plan to opt out of Friday night's 200 backstroke finale to allow the hometown swimmer a chance to advance to the main race.

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"Nothing I can do about it," Peirsol, the world-record holder in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, told The Washington Post. "The time I had to do wasn't easy."

The five-time Olympic gold medalist had to settle for the consolation final, which he won in 1:56.67.

A faster time in the consolation final could have earned Peirsol a 200-backstroke berth into the FINA World Championships next summer. Peirsol only guaranteed himself an entry in the 100 backstroke after his Pan Pacific victory Wednesday.

Lochte won the 200 backstroke final in 1:54.12, breaking the Pan Pacific record of 1:54.44 set by Peirsol in 2006. Clary took the silver in 1:54.90.

— From staff reports

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Whiteside enrolled at Santa Ana College

Former Newport Harbor High standout linebacker Cecil Whiteside has enrolled at Santa Ana College in hopes to attend Cal in the spring, said Sailors football Coach Jeff Brinkley.

The Golden Bears recruited Whiteside, ranked as the fourth best outside linebacker recruit in the country by Rivals.com, but Coach Jeff Tedford said that Whiteside will grayshirt at Cal this upcoming season after having to sit out his first year because of academic issues.

Brinkley said Whiteside would not play football at Santa Ana College, so he could have four years of athletic eligibility with the Golden Bears.

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