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U.S. swimmer Sandeno nearly gets gold

8/14/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Yana Klochkova of Ukraine won her second
straight 400-meter individual medley at the Olympics, holding off
American Kaitlin Sandeno by just the length of a hand Saturday
night.

The two swimmers made the final turn in virtually a dead heat,
but Klochkova got to the wall first to become the first two-time
winner of the women's 400 IM in Olympic history.

Klochkova, the world-record holder, took gold in 4 minutes,
34.83 seconds -- just 12-hundredths of a second ahead of Sandeno.

Sandeno, of Lake Forest, Calif., claimed an American record with
her time of 4:34.95 and improved two places from her performance in
Sydney, where she finished fourth as an Olympic rookie.

"I feel excited," Sandeno said. "It's my best time by 5½
seconds. I wasn't even upset that I got outpunched."

Georgina Bardach of Argentina claimed the bronze in 4:37.51.

Sandeno still has plenty of work ahead. She also qualified in
two other individual events and will swim one of the relays for the
U.S. team.

Vasiliki Angelopoulou was the female first Greek swimmer to
qualify for an Olympic final. She finished last in the eight-woman
field (4:50.85.).

There were two surprises in the preliminaries.

Katie Hoff, the 15-year-old who swims at the same North
Baltimore club as Michael Phelps, failed to make the final and
vomited after her morning heat, primarily because of nerves. She
finished 17th after swimming the second-fastest time by an American
when she won the event at the U.S. trials.

Beatrice Caslaru of Romania, the bronze medalist at the Sydney
Games, was 14th.