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Phelps, Thrope win swimming gold

ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Michael Phelps embarked on his bid for Olympic history Saturday night by winning the first of what he hopes will be eight gold medals.

Phelps broke his own world record in 4:08.26 to capture the 400-meter individual medley.

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Australian Ian Thrope, Yana Klochkova of the Ukraine and the women's 400-meter freestyle relay team from Australia also won gold medals.

The United States picked up five of the 12 swimming medals awarded Saturday night while Australia had three.

Phelps will swim in five individual events and three relays and if he wins them all, he will break the record for one Olympics set in 1972 by Mark Spitz.

American teammate Erik Vendt finished second in 4:11.81.

Thorpe won the 400 freestyle in 3:43.10, finishing just ahead of teammate Grant Hacket. Thorpe has six career Olympic medals, four of them gold.

American Klete Keller finished third in the freestyle and U.S. swimmer Kaitlin Sandeno was second behind Klochkova in the women's 400 freestyle.

Australia and the United States finished 1-2 in the relay with the Australians setting a world record in 3:35.94.

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