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U.S. Wins Five Swimming Medals

July 4, 1999

PALMA DE MALLORCA, Balearic Islands (AP) _ Mark Warkentin trains for swimming’s equivalent of the marathon. On Sunday, he did a fair impression of a sprinter.

Competing in the 200-meter freestyle at an international event for the first time, the native of Santa Barbara, Calif., won a gold medal at the University Games, one of five medals the United States earned on the first day of swimming competition.

Warkentin will compete in the 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle races, as well as two relay events, later at this Olympics-style event, and said winning five golds is ``realistic.″

He was told last week he would race the 200, after Trevor Runberg withdrew from the U.S. team for personal reasons.

``It came as a shock I was swimming, and then I won,″ said Warkentin, who was timed in 1 minute, 51.30 seconds, in becoming the first U.S. swimmer since Matt Biondi in 1985 to win the 200 freestyle at the University Games. ``They raised the flag. That’s never happened to me before. I’ve only seen that on TV. You dream about moments like that.″

The Southern California sophomore beat France’s Lionel Poirot by .08 of a second.

The United States won the gold in the women’s 800 freestyle when the team of Rada Owen, Kimberly Black, Caroline Kilian and Kathryn Zambone waws timed in 8:13.41.

The Americans’ other medals were from Cara Lane’s 800 freestyle victory, Julie Varozza’s third-place finish in that event, and Corrie Murphy’s bronze in the women’s 400 individual medley.

The U.S. men’s basketball team, winner of five straight gold medals, stretched its winning streak to 34 games at this event with a 97-58 victory over Nigeria.

The Americans end preliminary round play Monday against the Czech Republic, while the women open their competition against China.

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