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Monday, September 25
Once again, it's Thompson vs. Torres

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - When the rivalry became too heated, Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres went their separate ways in the water.

Torres, de Bruijn, Thompson
Torres, left, and Thompson, right, couldn't catch gold medalist de Bruijn, center.
The Olympics brought them back together for an uncomfortable detente: perched atop a circular podium barely big enough for one, bronze medals dangling from their necks.

"All I can say is irony," Torres said Thursday.

They tied for third in the 100-meter freestyle behind Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands, who won her second gold medal of the games, and Sweden's Therese Alshammar.

Furiously stroking toward the finish, Thompson and Torres touched the wall together, popped their heads up and searched for the scoreboard. The time beside each name was the same: 54.43 seconds.

"I just kind of looked up in shock," Torres said. "Then I started laughing when I saw Jenny and I had tied."

The Tie stood out on a particularly flush day for the Americans in the pool -- four races, eight swimmers, eight medals.

Lenny Krayzelburg made it 2-for-2 in the backstroke, winning the 200-meter backstroke while teammate Aaron Peirsol took silver. Kristy Kowal and Amanda Beard went 2-3 in the 200-meter breaststroke. Tom Dolan and Tom Wilkens did the same in the 200 individual medley.

The 33-year-old Torres returned to the pool last year after a seven-year hiatus spent in modeling and infomercials. She shared a coach with Thompson and they trained together at first.

Soon, it was apparent there wasn't enough room in the pool for the dueling divas. Too many of the same goals. Too much intensity in the water.

Coach Richard Quick had to separate his stars at one point, though they now say too much is being made of the split. But there were no hugs and kisses, either, on the medals stand.

Torres seemed OK with the whole thing, having won the second individual medal of her record fourth Olympics. Thompson, on the other hand, struggled to eke out a smile.

"They were in two different places on the medals stand," Quick said. "Dara was feeling good about it and she's also got another race (the 50 freestyle). Jenny had just swam her last individual race."

Thompson never captured an individual gold in her brilliant career, which likely will end after Sydney. She has won seven relay golds, but the individual tally is much smaller: a silver in 1992 and now a bronze.

The nine medals are the most by any female swimmer, pushing Thompson past Dawn Fraser of Australia, German Kornelia Ender and American Shirley Babashoff.

"It's time for me to stop looking at what I don't have and look at what I do have," said the 27-year-old Thompson, from Dover, N.H. "There's a tremendous amount of things in my life to be happy about. Winning nine medals in the Olympics is just a small part of that."


De Bruijn beats out Thompson for gold in 100 free Help | Advertiser Info | Contact Us | Tools | Site Map | Jobs at
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