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Rebecca Soni: World-Record Effort Adds to Swimmer's Elite Breaststroke Resume

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Rebecca Soni (L) of the United States celebrates with Satomi Suzuki of Japan after winning gold and setting a new world record time of 2:19.59 in the Women's 200m Breaststroke Final on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

Rebecca Soni is the best backstroke swimmer in the world, and she reiterated that fact with her world-record performance in Thursday's 200-meter breaststroke final.

Her gold medal gives her two Olympic medals overall with a chance to win one more in the women's 4x100-meter individual medley. Soni has one more chance to compete in London, but swim fans have already seen what they came for from her.

Soni's reputation dates back to Beijing's games in 2008. She won the silver in the 100-meter breaststroke and upset Leisel Jones in the 200 breast final. She defeated Jones by two seconds and broke her world record in the process.

That was the beginning of a dominant run in these events for Soni. They make her victory on Thursday far from a surprise.

She took gold in both events at the 2009 National Championships and was named swimmer of the year by Swimming World Magazine. This confirmed her success in Beijing and got everyone's attention in the years leading up to London's action.

The rest of 2009/10 was a success. She successfully competed at the National Championships again, and she showed her skills in a few prominent international races. That led up to her success at the 2011 World Championships.

Soni took gold in the 200 breast at the 2011 World Championships. This generated excitement about the possibility of a repeat gold-medal performance in this summer's games.

She hasn't disappointed, and Thursday was her crowning achievement. The 200 breast is her best event, and she didn't fail to deliver. All eyes will be on her leg of the medley relay as she looks for her third Olympic medal in 2012.


*All background info courtesy of Soni's biography on nbcolympics.com

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