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Aaron Peirsol, the Orange County-bred swimmer who became arguably the greatest backstroker of his generation and a five-time Olympic gold medalist, will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame on June 3-5 in Santa Clara, the organization announced.

Peirsol rose from the Irvine Novaquatics club as an age-group star under Coach Dave Salo to become a three-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008) who claimed five gold medals and two silvers.

He quietly retired in 2011, making a meet in the summer of 2010 at his home pool, the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics, his final competition.

Peirsol, who also raced for Newport Harbor High, retired on top at age 27.

“I may be relatively young but I started young. I ended up being extremely content and I called a spade a spade," Peirsol said at his retirement.

Peirsol, now 32, still holds long-course world records in the 100 and 200-meter backstrokes from 2009.

He returned to his alma mater, Newport Harbor, last spring to coach boys swimming, a move to help bring stability to the program. It's his first coaching job.

The former University of Texas star also won seven golds medals and one silver in world championships competition. He was the USA Swimming male swimmer of the year in 2005 and the NCAA swimmer of the year in 2003 under Coach Eddie Reese.

At age 15, he became the youngest male to break to break two minutes in the 200-meter backstroke.

The Hall of Fame class also includes former Mission Viejo Nadadores swimmer Dara Torres and Bob Bowman, Michael Phelps' longtime coach.


 


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