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PEIRSOL Aaron
PEIRSOL Aaron

Aaron PEIRSOL

  • G 5
  • S 2
  • B 0

The king of the backstroke

A multiple world and Olympic champion and record holder, American swimmer Aaron Peirsol is considered the greatest backstroker of all time

A precocious talent

Born on 23 July 1983 in Irvine, California, Aaron Peirsol was only 15 when he became the youngest American swimmer in history to break the two-minute mark in the 200m backstroke. At the age of 16 he appeared at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where he won his first medal, a silver, over the same distance, an achievement that he celebrated by having the Olympic rings tattooed on his right hip. A year later, he claimed the first of a slew of world and Olympic titles, winning gold in the 200m backstroke at the 2001 World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka (JPN), breaking the world record for the first of seven times in the process. It was the start of a long success story.

Gold rush

Peirsol was one of the stars of the USA swim team at Athens 2004, scoring a 100m/200m backstroke double and picking up another gold medal in the men’s 4x100m medley. Four years later in Beijing he retained his 100m backstroke title and won gold again in the men’s 4x100m medley relay, though he was second best to compatriot Ryan Lochte in the 200m backstroke. His overall medal haul from his three appearances in the Games was five golds and two silvers. The backstroke specialist collected a host of medals at each of the five world championships he competed in between 2001 and 2009, winning the world title in the 200m backstroke, 100m backstroke and 4x100m medley relay on four separate occasions. During his illustrious career, which also saw him compete in several editions of the Pan-American and Pan-Pacific Games, he amassed a total of 36 medals at major competitions, 29 of them gold.

A hatful of records

Peirsol broke the 100m backstroke world record six times in all, most recently on 8 July 2008, when he swam 51.94 in the American trials for Beijing 2008 in Indianapolis. He also set seven world records in his preferred event, the 200m, leaving his mark at 1.51.92 in winning the final at the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Rome. Two days later he helped set the last of five world 4x100m medley records, winning another gold in the Italian capital with a time of 3.27.29. All three of those records stand to this day.

28 and out

Announcing his competitive retirement in early 2011, Peirsol said: “I ended up doing everything I set out to do.” A University of Texas graduate, majoring in government, he is now devoting his energies to protecting the oceans.

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Gallery

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Late Lezak show delivers USA relay glory

Jason Lezak swims a superb final leg as the United States edge out France to win a thrilling 4x100m freestyle relay in Beijing 2008.
IOC
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https://olympic-vh.akamaihd.net/i/Assets/MediaPlayer/Videos/Streaming/2008/08/14/lot1-2008 swi 200m backstroke m/2008_swi_200m_backstroke_m_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Ryan Lochte Shatters World Record in 200m Backstroke

American Ryan Lochte swims powerfully to win his first individual gold medal in the 200m backstroke final, shattering his own world record. Lochte hits the wall in 1:53.94, only 0.39 seconds ahead of the defending Olympic Champion and compatriot Aaron Peirsol. Russian Arkady Vyatchanin finishes in 1:54.93, picking up the bronze medal. Swimming Men's 200m Backstroke Final - World Record (1:53.94) - Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics - Ryan Lochte (USA), Aaron Peirsol (USA), Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS)
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https://olympic-vh.akamaihd.net/i/Assets/MediaPlayer/Videos/Streaming/2008/08/12/lot1-2008 swi 100m backstroke m/2008_swi_100m_backstroke_m_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Aaron Peirsol Defends Title with New World Record

Aaron Peirsol performs an energetic swim to win gold and defend his Olympic title in 100m backstroke to the delight of the audience. The three time Olympian, finishes in world record time ahead of his compatriot Matt Grevers. Vyatchanin and Stoeckel share the bronze. This 1st place gives Piersol his 6th Olympic title. Swimming Men's 100m Backstroke Final - World Record (52.54) - Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics - Aaron Peirsol (USA), Matt Grevers (USA), Hayden Stoeckel (AUS), Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS)

 

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US Swimming Olympic Trials Day Five

OMAHA, NE - JULY 03: Aaron Peirsol swims in the preliminary heats of the 200 meter backstroke during the U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials on July 3, 2008 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
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Mens 4x100m Medley Relay Medal Ceremony

ATHENS - AUGUST 21: (L-R) Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Ian Crocker and Jason Lezak of the United States win the gold medal and set a new world record of 3:30.68 in the men's swimming 4 x 100 metre medley relay competition on August 21, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Main Pool of the Olympic Sports Complex Aquatic Centre in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Aaron Peirsol;Brendan Hansen;Ian Crocker;Jason Lezak
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Results

  • Games
    Result
    Sport
    Event
  • S 1:54.33
    Aquatics
    200m backstroke men
    G 52.54
    Aquatics
    100m backstroke men
    G 3:29.34
    Aquatics
    4x100m medley relay men
  • G 1:54.95
    Aquatics
    200m backstroke men
    G 54.06
    Aquatics
    100m backstroke men
    G 3:30.68
    Aquatics
    4x100m medley relay men
  • S 01:57.35
    Aquatics
    200m backstroke men

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