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Peirsol splash shades Phelps debut

AARON Peirsol overshadowed Michael Phelps' first appearance at the US National championships in Indianapolis on Wednesday, reclaiming his 100-meter backstroke world record with a stunning swim.

Peirsol clocked 51.94 seconds, slicing .44 seconds off the mark set by Spain's Aschwin Wildeboer Faber in the leadoff leg in a 4x100 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, told reporters. "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 couple of weeks he will get his chance again.

"That was just a great swim, I felt great. It's great to know what I'm capable of."

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.

While Peirsol stole the spotlight, it was Phelps, the winner of 14 Olympic gold medals, the capacity crowd had come to see. 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.

"That was the one thing coming here we wanted, we wanted to make the world championships," Phelps said.

"That was the No. 1 goal as soon as we got back into the pool and started training again."

While Phelps is contemplating reshaping his 2012 Olympic program 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 4x200 freestyle relay squad from Beijing but they were unable to haul in their teammate 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.

"I'm not happy but some of the things that happened today are going to make me swim faster," said Phelps. "I can't really expect to come out here and do a best time right now."

In Montreal, teenager Amanda Reason broke the world record in the women's 50-meter breaststroke on Wednesday at the Canadian trials for the world championships.

The 15-year-old Reason clocked 30.23 seconds to eclipse the previous mark of 30.31 seconds set by Australia's Jade Edmistone in 2006.

"This is just amazing," Reason said. "I'm speechless, incredible.

"My coach said I had to go out fast and get my head into the motion.

"I did that well in the beginning and kept pushing it through to the end and I did it."

The world record was the first by a Canadian in a long course pool since Allison Higson broke the 200 breaststroke mark in 1988.

Reason won the bronze medal in the 50 breaststroke at the world junior championships and in January took silver at the junior Pan Pacific championships.

The 50 breaststroke is a world championship event but is not raced at the Olympics.


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