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US Enjoys Another Winning Day in Olympic Swimming Competition


The United States has picked up three more gold medals in Olympic Swimming, with Michael Phelps remaining on course to claim an unprecedented eight gold medals at a single games. VOA's Jim Stevenson has more from the Water Cube in Beijing, where other U.S. team members also found their way to the top of the medal podium.

Rebecca Soni clocked a world record time of 2:20.22 minutes Friday in the women's 200-meter breaststroke. Soni had also picked up a breaststroke silver at the 100-meter distance on Tuesday.

"I definitely think I exceeded my expectations," Soni said. "I already have two medals and I [just] came in for one event. So things are going great."

Australian Leisel Jones, who had won in the shorter race, placed second in the 200 meters (2:22.05) ahead of Sara Nordenstam of Norway (2:23.02).

Ryan Lochte and Aaron Peirsol gave the United States gold and silver in the men's 200-meter backstroke. Lochte covered the distance in 1:53.94 minutes to break the world record he had shared with Peirsol by 38-100ths of a second. Russian Arkady Vyatchanin took bronze.

Lochte had a quick turnaround to compete in the 200-meter individual medley, which was won by teammate Michael Phelps.

"You kind of forget about the pain and everything after you win," he said. "You kind of just forget about it. That is basically what happened. I kind forgot about it and then just got ready for my next race."

But in that race, Lochte could not keep up with another dominant performance by Phelps, who claimed his sixth gold medal of the 2008 Olympic Games with a world record time of 1:54.23 minutes.

While Phelps acknowledges his amazing run has been widely followed, he feels the popularity of the sport still has plenty of room to grow.

"I think more and more people are starting to get interested and hopefully starting to get more involved," Phelps said. "So, I think my goal of raising the bar in the sport of swimming is coming along nicely. But I think it is still going to take time for me to really get it to where I want it to be."

German Britta Steffen ended where she wanted to be. Her Olympic record time of 53.12 seconds took her to the other side of the 50-meter pool faster than her walk to the top of the medal podium.

"I thought, yes, enjoy this moment because it is unique," she said. "And I think it was a super race. Even if I had not gotten a medal, it would be fine. But then I turned around and everything was just great."

Lisbeth Trickett of Australia placed second in the swimming's sprint event (53.16) while American Natalie Coughlin took bronze (53.39).

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