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Lenny Predicts US Victory, Defends Hall -- September 10, 2000 Aaron Peirsol and Lenny Krayzelburg will represent USA in 200 Back in the 2000 Olympics.

BRISBANE, September 10. BACKSTROKE world record-holder, Lenny Krayzelburg, predicted the US would emerge from the 2000 Olympics as the world's top team and defended his teammate, Gary Hall, Jr., against charges by Kieren Perkins that he is a "drug cheat."

Krayzelburg, who holds the dorsal world marks at all three distances--50, 100 and 200 meters--said the US has assembled its best Olympic team since 1976.

The 1976 US men's Olympic teams is considered the most dominant in Olympic history, winning 10 of 11 individual events--most in one-two sweeps--and both relays.

"I think every event you look at we're strong and we have an opportunity to fight for a medal, every single event," Krayzelburg told a reporter during the team's pre-Olympic training camp in Brisbane. He said the US is confident of maintaining its status as the world's leading aquatic nation. despite the Aussies' home pool advantage.

"Even though we're coming to Australian turf out here we still want to be the best and we want to win. We're competitors. We feel confident. We're going to have good swims and good performances and we can still maintain that number one status."

Krayzelburg also came to the defense of US sprint star, Gary Hall, Jr., who had predicted the Americans would smash the Australians "like guitars" in an internet article he wrote that was full of praise for Australian swimming.

Aussie distance ace Kieren Perkins replied by calling Hall, who served a three-month suspension for marijuana, a "drug cheat." Perkins later said his comment was "a joke."

Krayzelburg suggested Perkins should apologize to Hall, an action the Australian world record-holder has already ruled out.