Rebecca Soni

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Rebecca Soni
Rebecca soni cropped.jpg
Rebecca Soni
Personal information
Nickname(s) Reb
Nationality  United States
Born (1987-03-18) March 18, 1987 (age 27)
Freehold Borough, New Jersey
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight 134 lb (61 kg)
Sport
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Breaststroke
Club Trojan Swim Club
College team University of Southern California

Rebecca Soni (born March 18, 1987) is a retired American competition swimmer who is a breaststroke specialist and six-time Olympic medalist. She was the former world record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke (short and long course) and the 200-meter breaststroke (short and long course), and is the first woman to swim the 200-meter breaststroke in under 2 minutes 20 seconds. As a part of the American team, she currently holds the world record in the 4×100-meter medley relay (short and long course).

Soni has won a total of twenty-two medals in major international competition, fourteen gold, seven silver, and one bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, the Universiade, and the Pan Pacific Championships. She burst onto the international scene at the 2008 Summer Olympics where she won two silver medals and one gold. In the 200-meter breaststroke at the Olympics, she set the world record en route to winning gold, shocking Australian favorite Leisel Jones.[1] Four years later at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Soni successfully defended her Olympic title in the 200-meter breaststroke in world record time, becoming the first woman to do so in the event.

She was named Swimming World's World Swimmer of the Year award in 2010 and 2011, and the American Swimmer of the Year award in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Personal life[edit]

Soni was born in Freehold, New Jersey, in 1987, the daughter of Peter and Kinga Sőni. Soni's parents are of Hungarian descent; they emigrated from Cluj-Napoca, Romania.[2] Besides English, Soni also speaks Hungarian. Soni has one older sister, Rita, who was also a swimmer. Originally a gymnast, Soni began swimming at the age of ten.

Soni is a 2005 graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro Township, New Jersey.[3] In July 2006 she had a cardiac ablation.[4] Soni attended the University of Southern California and graduated in 2009. She majored in communication at the Annenberg School for Communication.

At USC, Soni was a six-time NCAA Champion, having won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2006 through 2009 and the 100-yard breaststroke in 2008 and 2009.[5][6] Soni currently swims for the Trojan Swim Club in Los Angeles with coach Dave Salo, who also coaches breaststroke world-record holder Jessica Hardy.

In August 2010, Soni became a spokeswoman for the United Nations Foundation's Girl Up campaign. The organization focuses on improving the lives of the world's adolescent girls.[7]

She dated fellow United States Olympic swimmer Ricky Berens from 2010-2012.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

As a 17-year-old at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Soni finished 15th overall in the 100-meter breaststroke and 11th overall in the 200-meter breaststroke.[8][9] The following year, at the 2005 World Championship Trials, Soni just missed a spot on the 2005 World Aquatic team after finishing third in the 200-meter breaststroke behind Tara Kirk and Kristen Caverly.[10] Soni also placed fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke.[11] At the 2005 Summer Universiade, Soni earned her first international medals by winning silver in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke and gold in the 4×100-meter medley relay.[12] At the 2006 FINA World Swimming Championships, Soni finished in 4th place in the 200-meter breaststroke.[13] Just a few weeks before the 2006 National Championships, Soni underwent a procedure called radiofrequency ablation to help regulate her heartbeat. Although it was not health-threatening, Soni would sometimes experience a high heart rate which sometimes interfered with her training.[14][15] At the 2006 National Championships, the selection meet for the 2006 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and the 2007 World Aquatics Championships, Soni finished tenth overall in both the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke.[16][17]

2008[edit]

2008 Olympic Trials[edit]

At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Soni competed in two events, the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke. In the 100-meter breaststroke, Soni finished fourth in a time of 1:07.80.[18] Usually, the top two finishers would qualify for the Olympics. However, after second-place finisher Jessica Hardy withdrew from the team and third-place finisher Tara Kirk missed the entry deadline, Soni was chosen to swim the event.[19][20] Soni earned her berth by being the swimmer already on the team with the fastest time in the event since January 1, 2006.[21] In the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni won with a time of 2:22.60, the third-fastest finish as of that date.[22]

2008 Summer Olympics[edit]

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Soni won a silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke, finishing behind world record holder Leisel Jones of Australia 1:06.73 to 1:05.17.[23][24] In the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni upset the heavily favored Jones, winning the gold medal and breaking Jones's world record with a time of 2:20.22. Jones finished second with a time of 2:22.05.[25] After the race, Soni said, "It's been a long road to get here, I can't believe what just happened."[14] Soni then combined with Natalie Coughlin, Christine Magnuson, and Dara Torres in the 4×100-meter medley relay to finish second behind Australia. Soni had the second best split time in the field (1:05.95) behind Jones (1:04.58).[26][27]

2009[edit]

2009 National Championships[edit]

At the 2009 National Championships Soni competed in two events, the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke. In the 100-meter breaststroke, Soni easily won with a time of 1:05.34.[28] In the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni again exhibited dominance by finishing first with a time of 2:20.38, just off her world record pace.[29]

2009 World Aquatics Championships[edit]

At the 2009 World Aquatics Championships, held in Rome, Soni set a meet record in the heats of the 100-meter breaststroke, with a time of 1:05.66.[30] In the semifinal, Soni recorded a time of 1:04.84 to set a new world record and become the first female to finish under 1:05 for the event.[31][32] In the final of the 100-meter breaststroke, Soni won the gold with a time of 1:04.93.[33][34] Despite being the favorite in the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni went out too fast in the first half of the race and faded in the final meters, ultimately placing fourth.[35] In the 50-meter breaststroke, Soni was narrowly beaten for the gold and the world record by two one-hundredths (0.02) of a second by Russian swimmer Yuliya Yefimova.[36]

For her performance at the World Championships, she was named the American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine.[37]

2009 Duel in the Pool[edit]

Soni then competed at the 2009 Duel in the Pool, a short course meet held in December at Manchester. In the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni broke Leisel Jones' world record with a time of 2:14.57.[38] One day later, Soni swam a 1:02.70 in the 100-meter breaststroke to break Jones' world record of 1:03.00.[39]

2010[edit]

2010 National Championships[edit]

At the 2010 National Championships, Soni qualified to compete at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke. In the 100-meter breaststroke, Soni won in a time of 1:05.73.[40][41] In the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni easily won with a time of 2:21.60, almost five seconds ahead of second-place finisher Amanda Beard.[42]

2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships[edit]

At the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Soni won a total of three gold medals. In the 100-meter breaststroke, Soni recorded the third fastest time in history and the fastest time recorded in a textile suit with a 1:04.93 to win the gold medal ahead of Australians Leisel Jones and Sarah Katsoulis. Her time was also the fastest ever recorded in a textile swimsuit.[43] Two days after the 100-meter breaststroke, Soni then competed in the 200-meter breaststroke and the 4×100-meter medley relay. In the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni dominated the field with a time of 2:20.69. Leisel Jones came in second in 2:23.23 and world record holder Annamay Pierse came in third with a time of 2:23.65.[44] Less than an hour after the event, Soni competed in the 4×100-meter medley relay with Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer and Jessica Hardy. Performing the breaststroke leg, Soni recorded a time of 1:05.35, the fastest in the field; the American team went on to win the gold in a time of 3:55.23.[45]

For her performance at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Soni was named the World Swimmer of the Year and American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine.[46]

2010 Short Course World Championships[edit]

At the end of 2010, Soni competed at the 2010 Short Course World Championships in Dubai, where she won three gold medals and one silver. Soni swept all the breaststroke events and individually set four championship records.[47]

2011[edit]

2011 World Aquatics Championships[edit]

Soni won her first gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke. After posting the top times in the heats (1:05.54) and semifinals (1:04.91), Soni recorded a time of 1:05.05 in the final for the win. Her winning time was over a second ahead of second place finisher Leisel Jones.[48] In her second event, the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni won with a time of 2:21.47, her first gold medal in the event at a long course World Championships. However, her time in the final was slightly slower than her semifinal time of 2:21.03.[49] In the 4×100-meter medley relay, Soni won gold with Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer, and Missy Franklin with a time of 3:52.36, over three seconds ahead of second-place finisher China. Swimming the breaststroke leg, Soni had a split of 1:04.71. The final time of 3:52.36 for the medley relay was the second-fastest effort of all time, just behind the Chinese-owned world record of 3:52.19.[50] In her last event, the 50-meter breaststroke, Soni finished in third place behind Jessica Hardy and Yuliya Yefimova.[51]

At the year's end, Soni was named the World Swimmer of the Year and American Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine, and defended her titles from 2010.[52]

2012[edit]

2012 Olympic Trials[edit]

At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials, the U.S. qualifying meet for the Olympics, Soni qualified for the U.S. Olympic team by finishing second in the 100-meter breaststroke and first in the 200-meter breaststroke. Her second-place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke also ensured her a spot on the 4×100-meter medley relay. In her first event, the 100-meter breaststroke, Soni placed second behind Breeja Larson, a Texas A&M swimmer, with a time of 1:05.99, only losing by seven one-hundredths (0.07) of a second. In the 200-meter breaststroke, Soni placed first with a time of 2:21.13, winning by almost two seconds.

2012 Summer Olympic Games[edit]

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Soni won her first medal, a silver, in the 100 meter breaststroke, finishing 0.08 seconds behind 15-year-old Lithuanian Rūta Meilutytė and repeating her result from the 2008 Olympics.[53] After topping the heats of the 200 metre breaststroke with a time of 2:21.40, and breaking Annamay Pierse's world record in the semifinals with a time of 2:20.00, Soni won a gold medal in the final of the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:19.59, breaking her own world record and becoming the first woman ever to break 2 minutes 20 seconds in the event.[54] With her win, Soni became the first female to successfully defend her title in the event. In her final event, the 4×100-meter medley relay, she won gold with Missy Franklin, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt. Swimming the breaststroke leg, she recorded a time of 1:04.82, and the U.S. team went on to set a new world record with a time of 3:52.05, bettering the previous Chinese-owned record of 3:52.19 set in 2009.[55]

2013[edit]

Soni took the year off to recover from a back injury, but still returned to the 2013 World Aquatics Championships as a spectator.[56][57] At the World Championships, her 200m breaststroke world record was broken by Denmark's Rikke Møller Pedersen in the semifinals.

Personal bests[edit]

As of August 2, 2012.
Long course
Event Time Meet Date Note(s)
50 m breaststroke 30.11 2009 World Aquatics Championships August 2, 2009
100 m breaststroke 1:04.84 2009 World Aquatics Championships July 27, 2009
200 m breaststroke 2:19.59 2012 Summer Olympics August 2, 2012
Short course
Event Time Meet Date Note(s)
50 m breaststroke 29.83 2010 Short Course Worlds December 16, 2010
100 m breaststroke 1:02.70 2009 Duel in the Pool December 19, 2009
200 m breaststroke 2:14.57 2009 Duel in the Pool December 18, 2009

World records[edit]

No. Distance Event Time Meet Location Date Age
1 200 m Breaststroke 2:20.22 2008 Summer Olympics Beijing, CHN August 15, 2008 21
2 100 m Breaststroke 1:04.84 2009 World Aquatics Championships Rome, ITA July 27, 2009 22
3 200 m Breaststroke (sc)[a] 2:14.57 2009 Duel in the Pool Manchester, UK December 18, 2009 22
4 100 m Breaststroke (sc)[a] 1:02.70 2009 Duel in the Pool Manchester, UK December 19, 2009 22
5 4×100 m Medley relay (sc)[b] 3:45.56 2011 Duel in the Pool Atlanta, Georgia, US December 16, 2011 24
6 200 m Breaststroke 2:20.00 2012 Summer Olympics London, UK August 1, 2012 25
7 200 m Breaststroke[c] 2:19.59 2012 Summer Olympics London, UK August 2, 2012 25
8 4×100 m Medley relay[d] 3:52.05 2012 Summer Olympics London, UK August 4, 2012 25
a Record set in a short course pool.
b Short course record with Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer, and Missy Franklin.
c The first woman to swim in under 2 minutes 20 seconds in the event.
d Record set with Missy Franklin, Dana Vollmer, and Allison Schmitt.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "American Rebecca Soni wins Olympic 200 breast". The Herald Bulletin. 2008-08-15. Archived from the original on 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2010-08-26. 
  2. ^ Boldizsár Füzi, "Elcserélt nemzet - magyar olimpikonok más ország színeiben, Heti Válasz (August 13, 2012). Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  3. ^ "USC Signs 7 Prep Stars". CSTV. 2004-11-15. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  4. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/20/sports/othersports/20swim.html Finding Her Rhythm: Swimmer Adjusts to a Heart Procedure and a New Coach
  5. ^ "USC's Rebecca Soni Defends 100 Breast Title". Swimming World Magazine. 2009-03-20. Archived from the original on 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  6. ^ "USC's Rebecca Soni Joins Mount Rushmore of NCAA Swimming With Fourth Straight Win of 200 Breast". Swimming World Magazine. 2009-03-21. Archived from the original on 2010-10-03. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  7. ^ "Olmpian Rebecca Soni Joins Girl Up Campaign". www.GirlUp.org. 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  8. ^ "2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – 100 m breaststroke results (semifinals)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  9. ^ "2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – 200 m breaststroke results (semifinals)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  10. ^ "2005 World Championship Trials results: Women's 200 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  11. ^ "2005 World Championship Trials results: Women's 100 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  12. ^ "Swimming results from the 2005 Summer Universiade". International University Sports Federation. pp. 13 & 37. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  13. ^ "8th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) results: Women's 200 m breaststroke final". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  14. ^ a b "Hello there, Rebecca Soni". Times Herald-Record. 2008-08-16. Archived from the original on 2010-12-03. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  15. ^ Crouse, Karen (2008-03-20). "Finding Her Rhythm: Swimmer Adjusts to a Heart Procedure and a New Coach". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2011-01-09. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  16. ^ "2006 National Championships results: Women's 100 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  17. ^ "2006 National Championships results: Women's 200 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  18. ^ "2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – 100 m breaststroke results (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  19. ^ "Jessica Hardy Stops Positive Test Appeal; USADA Confirms Hardy Withdraws From Team; USA Swimming Releases Statement; Hardy's Camp Releases Statement". Swimming World Magazine. 2008-08-01. Archived from the original on 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  20. ^ Dillman, Lisa (2008-07-26). "Kirk says system failed". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  21. ^ "Open Letter to Swimming Community from USA Swimming's Chuck Wielgus: A Response to the Jessica Hardy/Tara Kirk Situation". Swimming World Magazine. 2008-08-08. Archived from the original on 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2011-01-15. 
  22. ^ "2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – 200 m breaststroke results (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  23. ^ "Swimming at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games: Women's 100 metres Breaststroke". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  24. ^ Kevin Manahan (2008-08-11). "Plainsboro's Rebecca Soni earns silver medal in 100-meter breaststroke". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2006-06-27. 
  25. ^ "Swimming at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games: Women's 200 metres Breaststroke". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  26. ^ "Swimming at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games: Women's 4 × 100 metres Medley Relay". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  27. ^ M.A. Mehta (2008-08-17). "Plainsboro's Soni wins third medal, takes silver in 4 × 100 medley relay". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  28. ^ "2009 National Championships – 100 m breaststroke results (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  29. ^ "2009 National Championships – 200 m breaststroke results (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  30. ^ "2009 World Championships results: Women's 100 m breaststroke (heats)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  31. ^ "2009 World Championships results: Women's 100 m breaststroke (semifinals)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  32. ^ "End Of An Error". Sports Illustrated. 2009-08-10. Archived from the original on 2010-09-08. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  33. ^ "2009 World Championships results: Women's 100 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  34. ^ Virgo, Paul (2009-07-28). "American Soni seizes 100 breaststroke gold". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2010-09-08. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  35. ^ "2009 World Championships results: Women's 200 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  36. ^ "2009 World Championships results: Women's 50 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  37. ^ "Swimming World Names 2009 American Swimmers of the Year". Swimming World Magazine. 2009-11-29. 
  38. ^ "Duel in the Pool 2009 results: Women's 200 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  39. ^ "Duel in the Pool 2009 results: Women's 100 m breaststroke (final)". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  40. ^ "2010 ConocoPhillips National Championships: Women's 100 m breaststroke final". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  41. ^ Crouse, Karen (2010-08-05). "Top Time of Year in Breaststroke". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  42. ^ "2010 ConocoPhillips National Championships: Women's 200 m breaststroke final". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  43. ^ "Pan Pacific Championships: Rebecca Soni Dominates Backhalf of 100 Breast". Swimming World Magazine. 2010-08-19. Archived from the original on 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  44. ^ Crouse, Karen (2010-08-21). "A Breaststroke That Is Hard to Imitate and All but Impossible to Beat". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2010-08-21. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  45. ^ "2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships: 4×100-meter medley relay final". Omega Timing. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  46. ^ "World/Regional Swimmers of the Year: World/American Swimmers of the Year". Swimming World Magazine. 2010-12-01. Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  47. ^ Jeffery, Nicole (2010-12-20). "No golden moments as Leisel edged out at world short course titles". The Australian. Archived from the original on 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  48. ^ "FINA World Championships, Swimming: Rebecca Soni Defends 100 Breast Crown". Swimming World Magazine. 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  49. ^ "FINA World Championships, Swimming: Stain Erased; Rebecca Soni Triumphs in 200 Breast". Swimming World Magazine. 2011-07-29. Retrieved 2011-07-29. 
  50. ^ "FINA World Championships, Swimming: United States Smokes Women's 400 Medley Relay; Rattles World Record; Sets American Record, Textile Best". Swimming World Magazine. 2011-07-30. Retrieved 2011-07-30. 
  51. ^ "FINA World Championships, Swimming: Jessica Hardy Dominates 50 Breast, Trojan Swim Club Sweeps Podium". Swimming World Magazine. 2011-07-31. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  52. ^ "USA's Ryan Lochte, Rebecca Soni Sweep Swimming World World, American Swimmers of the Year Awards". Swimming World Magazine. 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  53. ^ Bien, Louis (30 July 2012). "Women's 100m Breaststroke Final: 15-Year-Old Ruta Meilutyte Wins Gold, Rebecca Soni Takes Silver". SB Nation. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  54. ^ Rebecca Soni wins gold, sets record, ESPN, August 2, 2012
  55. ^ US women set world record to win 4×100 medley relay, The Boston Globe, August 4, 2012
  56. ^ "2013 US World Trials Previews: With No Soni, Larson and Hardy become consensus favorites". SwimSwam. 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  57. ^ "Arena's Rebecca Soni Checks in from Barcelona". Swimming World Magazine. 2013-08-02. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 

External links[edit]

Records
Preceded by

Australia Leisel Jones
Women's 200 metre breaststroke
world record holder (long course)

August 15, 2008 – July 30, 2009
Succeeded by

Canada Annamay Pierse
Preceded by

Australia Leisel Jones
Women's 100 metre breaststroke
world record holder (long course)

July 27, 2009 – August 7, 2009
Succeeded by

United States Jessica Hardy
Preceded by

Australia Leisel Jones
Women's 200 metre breaststroke
world record holder (short course)

December 18, 2009 – December 13, 2013
Succeeded by

Russia Yuliya Yefimova
Preceded by

Australia Leisel Jones
Women's 100 metre breaststroke
world record holder (short course)

December 19, 2009 – October 12, 2013
Succeeded by

Lithuania Rūta Meilutytė
Preceded by

Canada Annamay Pierse
Women's 200 metre breaststroke
world record holder (long course)

August 1, 2012 – August 1, 2013
Succeeded by

Denmark Rikke Møller Pedersen
Awards
Preceded by
Italy Federica Pellegrini
World Swimmer of the Year
2010–2011
Succeeded by
United States Missy Franklin
Preceded by
Natalie Coughlin
American Swimmer of the Year
2009–2011 (Shared with Kukors in 2009)
Succeeded by
United States Missy Franklin
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Russia Anastasia Zuyeva
Mare Nostrum Tour Overall Winner
2010
Succeeded by
Japan Ryosuke Irie