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Archive for Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Backstroke records fall

July 2, 2008

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— Michael Phelps just missed setting another world record at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Natalie Coughlin and Aaron Peirsol showed him how to do it.

Racing about 10 minutes apart, Coughlin and Peirsol broke their own marks in the 100-meter backstroke Tuesday on another lightning-quick night at the temporary pool in America's heartland.

Their records were the fifth and sixth of the meet - with five days to go. Both Coughlin and Peirsol were wearing the Speedo LZR Racer, which upped its tally of world marks to 44 since debuting in mid-February.

"I'm really glad that I stamped my ticket to Beijing. I got that over with," Coughlin said. "I feel like a huge weight has been lifted."

Phelps made a dogged run at perhaps the most impressive record on his staggering resume, the time of 1 minute, 43.86 seconds from the 200-meter freestyle at last year's world championships. He was right on pace as he powered toward the wall, but he touched with only the third-fastest time in history, 1:44.10.

In Tuesday night's other final, Jessica Hardy earned her first trip to the Olympics by winning the 100 breaststroke. The 21-year-old was under world-record pace at the flip but faded on the return lap. Still, she managed to win in 1:06.87.

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