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U.S. unbeaten in 5 relays; Hungarian wins for threepeat

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

It was the 10th gold of the Games for the U.S. swim team.

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. She won a gold in 1988 and in 1992, she won three more golds in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and 400 individual medley.

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 U.S. just ahead at the end of the second leg and Sheila Taormina and Jenny Thompson brought home the title without further ado.

The U.S. 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 on Friday, the final night of competition.

After much was made of distance swimmer Janet Evans failing to tie speedskater Bonnie Blair's record of five Olympic gold medals by an American woman and the record of Australian Dawn Fraser, the only woman to win the same individual event at three consecutive Olympics, other swimmers matched those records.

Just two races after Evans lost, Egerszegi matched Fraser's achievement. Egerszegi won three gold medals in Barcelona and a bronze in Atlanta.

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

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.

Hedgepeth, who already 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.

Meet the athlete

NAME: Krisztina Egerszegi. COUNTRY: Hungary.

SPORT: Swimming. EVENT: Women's 200-meter breastroke.

WINNING MOMENT: Egerszegi, 21, cruised to an easy win in 2 minutes, 7.83 seconds, more than four seconds faster than runner-up Whitney Hedgepeth of Rocky Mount, N.C.

SIGNIFICANCE: She became the first swimmer in Olympic history to win five gold medals in individual events. She won her first gold medal in 1988 in the 200 backstroke. In 1992, she won three more golds in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and 400 individual medley. Egerszegi also tied Dawn Fraser's record of winning the same race in three consecutive Olympics.