Brilliant Peirsol reclaims backstroke world record

Brilliant Peirsol reclaims backstroke world record

Olympic champ slices 0.44 sec off old time set by Faber

Peirsol clocked 51.94 seconds, slicing 0.44 seconds off the mark set by Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber in the lead off leg in a 4x100m medley relay at the Mediterranean Games on July 1.

"When my world record was broken it was a total surprise," Peirsol, who has now broken the record six times, said. "My goal coming in was to break the world record and that was added motivation, most definitely. "The guy got to hold it for a week and in another of couple of weeks he will get his chance again.

Matthew Grevers had taken the race out in world record pace and led Peirsol at the turn but the Olympic champion took command over the final 50, pulling away for the win and securing his spot for the world championships in Rome later this month.

In his first major test since his record eight gold medal haul at the Beijing Games, Phelps delighted his fans picking up wins in the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly.

While Phelps is contemplating reshaping his 2012 Olympic programme around shorter distances he is no stranger to the events he won on Wednesday, holding the world record and Olympic gold in both.

The 200 freestyle final featured five members of the US gold medal 4x200m freestyle relay squad from Beijing but they were unable to haul in their team mate who powered home in one minute, 44.23 seconds.

It was the fastest time this year and sixth fastest all time but well off his world mark of 1:42.96.

Phelps was back in the pool less than an hour later, clocking 1:52.76 in the 200 butterfly, again the fastest time in the event this year and fifth fastest of all-time, though he was less than pleased.

Meanwhile, Katie Hoff failed for the second day to qualify for a spot on the United States team for the world championships.

A day after struggling to sixth place in the 400 metres freestyle, an event she won silver in at the Beijing Olympics, Hoff trailed home last in the 200 freestyle, all but ending her hopes of competing in Rome.

Hoff will have one last chance to qualify for the worlds in the 100 freestyle but the dejected 20-year-old swimmer was not sure she would return to the pool at these championships.

Reuters

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