Defending Olympic champion Rebecca Soni reclaimed the world record in the 200-meter breaststroke with a dominant semifinal swim on Aug. 1 at the 2012 London Olympics, further solidifying her status as the favorite heading into today’s final.
Soni, who just missed gold in the 100-meter breast on July 30, clocked a 2:20.00 to erase Canadian Annamay Pierse’s 2009 time of 2:20.12. Soni’s swim gives her three of the top four fastest-ever times in the race and four of the top seven.
After registering a 2:21.40 to advance out of prelims, Soni swam in the second semifinal heat and, as expected, led start to finish en route to the world record. Her previous best time was a 2:20.22 in her gold medal swim in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Soni finished well ahead of second-place finisher Satomi Suzuki (2:22.40) of Japan in the second heat. Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen (2:22.23) was the top finisher in the first semifinal and will be seeded second in the final.
Soni will enter today’s final as the only one in the field to break 2:22.00. The race is scheduled to begin at 11:40 a.m.
In earlier action, incoming USC freshman Katarzyna Wilk finished 27th in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.13. She also swam on Poland’s 800-meter free relay, which finished 16th in prelims.
Trojan star Katinka Hosszu concluded her Olympic schedule for Hungary in the relay as well and her squad finished ninth in prelims, 0.02 out of the final.
Soni won’t be the only Trojan swimming today. USC junior Lynette Lim is set to race in the prelims of the 800-meter freestyle while former Trojan All-American Clement Lefert, a winner of gold and silver in the relay, will compete in the prelims of the 100-meter butterfly.