John Mann

Lightning host pool party

Lightning host pool party

It’s been nearly seven years now since Taras Polakoff watched the “backstroke king,” Aaron Peirsol, compete at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships at Irvine’s Woollett Aquatics Center.

That ended up being the last big meet of Peirsol’s career, but the experience stuck with Polakoff. He gained an affinity for the backstroke as well as he rose through the ranks of club swimming.

Fast forward to Tuesday, and Polakoff was celebrating his 18th birthday. He did it swimming the backstroke in Sage Hill’s brand new aquatics complex, with Peirsol racing him one lane over.

How cool is that?

“It’s pretty surreal,” Polakoff said. “It’s insane. Getting to race...

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