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Jenny Thompson Wins Third Swim Gold

January 15, 1998

PERTH, Australia (AP) _ Jenny Thompson started the World Swimming Championships concerned about China’s drug-tainted swim team. Now she has three gold medals, while the Chinese gold rush was halted after four of the team’s swimmers tested positive for drugs.

Thompson, winner of five Olympic gold medals but none for an individual event, added the 100-meter butterfly title to her 100-meter freestyle victory and relay gold.

Thompson even bucked the trend she started Thursday as she stood ``lonely″ on the victory podium. Missing was the ``No drugs″ badge she wore to a news conference prior to the competition and since featured in most ceremonies with Americans, including Kristy Kowal’s silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke on Thursday.

Thompson’s golds have U.S. team count up to seven. With three days left, the Americans already have two more golds than they won four years ago at Rome, where the Chinese collected 12 of 16 golds in women’s events.

On Wednesday, swimming’s world governing body, FINA, suspended four Chinese swimmers, including three women, after they tested positive for the banned substance Triamterene, a diuretic.

In Beijing, a Chinese sports official said Thursday the four face strict punishment. Tu Mingde, secretary-general of the Chinese Olympic Committee, said Chinese officials have set up a special anti-doping committee to investigate the case.

Last week, a female swimmer, Yuan Yuan, and coach Zhou Zhewen were disqualified from the championships after Australian Customs found 13 vials of muscle-building human growth hormone, also a banned substance, in Yuan’s bag. FINA banned Zhou 15 years and Yuan four years for trafficking.

China failed to win a medal Thursday and had two golds, a silver and a bronze.

Lenny Krayzelburg gave the United States a gold medal Thursday in the 100-meter backstroke. The Americans concluded their golden night when the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay team edged Australia.

The Ukraine-born Krayzelburg was timed in 55.00 seconds in beating Canada’s Mark Versfeld (55.17) and Germany’s Stev Theloke (55.20).

``It was a very special moment,″ Krayzelburg, born in Odessa but a U.S. resident since 1989, said of standing on the podium.

``While I was growing up in Russia everyone wanted to be in the United States, so it’s special to be an American and standing on top of the world.

``Before the race, I was nervous as it’s my first big competition. It all comes down to having fun ... cherishing the moment.″

Thompson clocked 58.46, breaking her meet record set earlier Thursday in the prelims. Ayari Aoyama of Japan was second at 58.79 and Petria Thomas of Australia third at 58.97.

``It’s my favorite win so far,″ Thompson said.

Teen-agers Ian Thorpe of Australia took the men’s 400 freestyle and Hungarian Agnes Kovac won the women’s 200 breaststroke.

Thorpe became Australia’s first 15-year-old champion since Steve Holland won the 1,500 at the 1973 championships. He overtook compatriot Grant Hackett in the final 20 meters and was timed in 3:46.29. Hackett was .15 seconds behind and Paul Palmer of Britain third at 3:48.02.

In winning her first major title, Kovacs, the European 200 and 400 champion, clocked a meet record 2:25.45.

Kowal, 19, took the silver in 2:26.19. The U.S. also claimed bronze with 15-year-old Jenna Street finishing in 2:26.50.

Defending champion Samantha Riley of Australia, who has been slowed by tonsillitis, was fourth and Olympic champion Penny Heyns sixth.

Kowal, who won the 100-meter breaststroke, was surprised to add a silver.

``I came here seeded 11th in this event, so this is such a shock,″ Kowal said.

In the relay, the U.S. never has lost in world and Olympic history.

Russia won the synchronized swimming team gold with Japan second and the United States third.

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