Fortunately for Aaron Peirsol, the quest for gold in the 200-meter backstroke at next month’s World Championships will not be impeded by world record-holder Lenny Krayzelburg.
But Peirsol still must stay between lane lines to win a world title.
Peirsol, the silver medalist to Krayzelburg at the 2000 Olympics, crashed into the lane lines in the 200-backstroke final Friday in the TYR Swim Meet of Champions, but recovered to win easily in 2:00.37 at Marguerite Recreation Center in Mission Viejo.
The miscue caused Peirsol to slow nearly to a stop, costing at least a second. Krayzelburg’s world record 1:55.87 would not have been threatened and Peirsol still won by 5.35 seconds over Keith Beavers of Canada, but that sort of accident could cost Peirsol in the World Championships July 22-29 in Fukuoka, Japan.
“Considering what happened, I’m not too disappointed,” Peirsol said. “I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before.”
Krayzelburg has decided not to compete this summer, leaving Peirsol as the world’s leading backstroker. Peirsol, who won the Spring Nationals in 1:56.56, smiled when talking about a possible world record in Japan.
“I don’t want to make anything too big out of it,” he said. “But let’s just say I feel pretty good right now.”
Gabrielle Rose, a 2000 U.S. Olympian, and Emily Mason each won two events. Rose swam a meet-record 56.62 in the 100 freestyle and anchored the 400 freestyle-relay team to a winning 3:54.38. Mason won the 200 butterfly in 2:12.57 and the 400 freestyle in 4:16.98.
Jason Lezak of Irvine, a double-medal winner in the 2000 Olympics, set a meet record of 49.74 in the 100 freestyle.