Rebecca Soni sets world record in 200-meter breastroke at London 2012 Olympics
Amy Shipley/Washington Post
LONDON – Rebecca Soni shook her fist. Then she did it again. And again. A U.S. star known for showing no emotion suddenly spilled it all over the pool. She had good reason: Soni not only won her second straight Olympics title in the 200-meter breaststroke Thursday night, she also broke her second world record in 24 hours and accomplished a long-held dream.
And there was this, too: She made up for the frustration of a second-place finish Tuesday in the 100 breaststroke, an event in which she is reigning world champion.
“That was the happiest” I’ve ever seen Soni, her coach Dave Salo said. “She was just ecstatic about it.”
There was, she figured, plenty to celebrate. She became the first 2008 Olympic gold medalist to repeat as champion at these Games, though Michael Phelps achieved a three-peat later Thursday, winning the 200 individual medley for the third time since 2004.
With her finish in 2 minutes, 19.59 seconds, Soni, 25, easily held off Japan’s Satomi Suzuki, who finished in 2:20.72, and Russia’s Iuliia Efimova, who came home in 2:20.92.
“I’m so happy,” Soni said. “I didn’t try to focus on medals or records, I just wanted to swim one more race the way I knew I could.. . . I just wanted my hand on the wall. I was scared to look. I can’t believe it yet.”
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