Peirsol competes in national championships

Newport Harbor High alumnus Aaron Peirsol is one of more than 30 U.S. Olympians expected to compete at the USA Swimming National Championships at Irvine High on Aug. 3-7.

Peirsol is looking to defend his 200-meter and 400-meter backstroke titles, which he won at last year's national championships in Charlotte, N.C.

The overall field should include Peirsol, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, and gold-medal winners Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin and Rebecca Soni. The event serves as the selection meet for the Pan Pacific Championships, which will be at Irvine High on Aug. 18-22, and will feature top competitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and more than 20 other countries.

Both the USA Swimming National Championships and the Pan Pacific Championships will serve as the selection meets for next year's FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China.

Peirsol won the 200 backstroke and broke his own world record at last year's FINA Swimming World Championships in Rome, Italy. His meet-record leadoff leg of 52.19 seconds also helped the United States' 400 medley relay team win gold in world-record time (3:27.28).

The field at the USA Swimming National Championships is expected to have the majority of the 2009-2010 U.S. National Swim Team competing. Olympic veterans Jason Lezak of Irvine and Amanda Beard return to the water as will Olympic medalists Matt Grevers, Katie Hoff, Dana Vollmer, Cullen Jones, Margaret Hoelzer, Christine Magnuson, Peter Vanderkaay and Garrett Weber-Gale.

The meet will also feature Kate Ziegler, Jessica Hardy, Nathan Adrian, Ariana Kukors, Eric Shanteau, and 2009-2010 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series champion Chloe Sutton.

USA Swimming National Championships will follow the traditional meet schedule of morning prelims and evening finals. Finals begin at 6 p.m. and prelims begin at 9 a.m. Tickets are available for purchase online at and are $15 for a day pass and $10 for a single session pass. An all-session general admission ticket can also be purchased for $60.

The competition will be broadcast by NBC in two shows on Aug. 7-8. The NBC show on Aug. 7 will air from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the show on August 8 will air from 1:30 to 3 p.m. In addition, Universal Sports will broadcast finals live on Aug. 3 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Aug. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The meet will also be webcast live by

— From staff reports

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