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U.S. golden in fifth relay; Hungarian wins third gold

The United States maintained its monopoly of relays, making it five golds out of five by winning the women's 800-meter freestyle relay on Thursday.

Another American, Whitney Hedgepeth of Rocky Mount, N.C., finished second to Krisztina Egerszegi of Hungary, who claimed her third straight Olympic women's 200 backstroke title to become the first swimmer in Olympic history to win five individual gold medals.

And American Jenny Thompson won her fifth gold as part of the 800-meter relay team.

In the relay, world champion Franziska van Almsick gave Germany the lead in the first leg, with Trina Jackson second for the Americans.

Cristina Teuscher put the United States just ahead at the end of the second leg and Sheila Taormina and Thompson brought home the title.

The United States won in 7:59.87, an Olympic record. Germany took the silver in 8:01.55 and Australia the bronze in 8:05.47.

It was the first time the event had been included in the Olympic program. America can sweep the relays by winning the men's 400 medley today, the final night of competition.

Egerszegi, a triple gold medalist in Barcelona, left little doubt that she would retain her 200 backstroke title. She led by a whopping 2.19 seconds after 100 meters and stretched her lead after that.

She won in 2:07.83, adding a gold medal to her bronze in the 400 individual medley.

"I have five gold medals and all of them are very nice but naturally the last one was the best one," said Egerszegi, 21.

She said she plans to swim another year, but Thursday was likely her last competitive race at the top-flight level.

Hedgepeth, who had a silver medal in the 100 backstroke, was second in 2:11.98 and Cathleen Rund of Germany was third in 2:12.06.