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Thompson Wins Third Gold Swim Medal

January 15, 1998

PERTH, Australia (AP) _ American star Jenny Thompson won her third gold medal of the world championships today, breaking the meet record in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 58.46 seconds.

Thompson, 25, of Dover, N.H., won the 100 freestyle Monday, and was a member of the winning 400 freestyle relay team Wednesday.

``It’s my favorite win so far. This feels really good,″ said Thompson, the only U.S. woman to win five Olympic gold medals in the Summer Games.

Thompson, whose Olympic gold medals all came in relays, broke the record she set earlier today with a 58.91-second performance in the heats. China’s Liu Limin set the previous mark of 58.98 in Rome in 1994.

Japan’s Ayari Aoyama finished second in 58.79, and Australia’s Petria Thomas was third in 58.97. Misty Hyman of Phoenix was fourth in 59.12.

The United States pushed its gold-medal total to seven today, with Lenny Krayzelburg winning the men’s 100 backstroke, and Garry Hall Jr. anchoring the winning 400 freestyle relay team.

Krayzelburg, a Ukraine-born 22-year-old who became an American citizen in 1995 after his parents moved to the United States in 1989, had a winning time of 55.0 seconds. Canada’s Mark Versfeld was second in 55.17, followed by Germany’s Stev Theloke in 55.20.

``There were lots of nerves, but this was a race not about time,″ Krayzelburg said. ``It’s about winning and the entire race was a good one.″

Hall, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., combined with Scott Tucker of Largo, Fla.; Neil Walker of Verona, Wis.; and Jon Olsen of Jonesboro, Ark., to take the relay in a meet-record 3:16.69. Australia finished second in 3:16.97.

``You know this is our relay,″ Olsen said. ``That’s how we feel about it. We knew it was going to be one of the closest in a while, so it was a pure adrenalin swim.″

Teen-age sensations Ian Thorpe of Australia and Agnes Kovac of Hungary also won titles, with Thorpe, 15, taking the men’s 400 freestyle, and Kovac, 16, the women’s 200 breaststroke.

Thorpe overtook fellow Australian Grant Hackett in the final 20 meters after Hackett led for nearly all of the race. Thorpe finished in 3:46.29, while Hackett, 17, finished 0.15 seconds behind.

``I feel I raced very tactically,″ Thorpe said. ``I stayed back a little bit like usual, and this time I had a little bit more to add. But I wasn’t sure if I could catch him.″

Kovacs took the 200 breaststroke in a meet-record 2:25.45.

Kristy Kowal, 19, of Reading, Pa., took the silver medal in 2:26.19, and Jenna Street, 15, of Johnson City, Tenn., finished third in 2:26.50.

Kowal, who wore a ``No Drugs″ badge during the medal presentation, was surprised by her silver medal.

``I came here seeded 11th in this event so this is such a shock,″ Kowal said. ``After the gold in the 100 meters it occurred to me that I could win again because I knew I had my taper right.″

Street set a meet record in leading the morning qualifying heats.

``To win was obviously a goal in my mind after my performance this morning,″ Street said. ``But I knew it was going to be a tough race.″

Elsewhere, Russia won the synchronized swimming team title. Japan was second, and the United States finished third.

On Wednesday, swimming international governing body, FINA, made the blockbuster announcement that four Chinese swimmers _ male Wang Wei and females Wang Luna, Cai Huijue and Zhang Yi _ had been suspended immediately after testing positive to the banned substance Triamterene, a diuretic.

Today, the Swedish Swimming Federation issued the first major rebuke to China over the scandal, saying it would boycott a World Cup event scheduled for Beijing from Feb. 25-26.

``Sports should be free from drugs and whatever kind of cheats,″ Swedish federation president Jan Nordlund said in a statement.

Australian Swimming president Terry Gathercole said it could not back a boycott because it was hosting a round of the World Cup and was contracted to send a team of at least four swimmers to each meet.

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