Soni wins again with world record

Michael Sohn/Associate Press

Rebecca Soni, a six-time NCAA swim champion at Southern California, won the 200-meter breaststroke in world-record time Thursday at the London Olympics. Soniís originally from New Jersey.

By Paul Newberry
AP National Writer

LONDON Ė For Rebecca Soni, another world record. For Ryan Lochte, more Olympic disappointment.

Tearing through the water in her favorite pink suit, Soni set her second world record in as many days to defend her Olympic title in the 200-meter breaststroke Thursday.

She touched in 2 minutes, 19.59 seconds, breaking the mark of 2:20.00 she set in the semifinals.

She broke into a big smile when she saw the time, racing the clock more than she was anyone in the water.

ďIím so happy,Ē Soni said. ďI canít believe I did it.Ē

Japanís Satomi Suzuki took silver, more than a second behind at 2:20.72, while Russiaís Yulia Efimova claimed bronze in 2:20.92.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo carried on the Dutch tradition of producing top sprinters and prevented a red, white and blue sweep of the night, taking the 100 freestyle in an Olympic-record 53.00.

Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus claimed the silver in 53.38, while the bronze went to Chinaís Tang Yi in 53.44.

American teenager Missy Franklin got off to a terrible start Ė she was last at the turn Ė and couldnít rally.

She finished fifth, two-tenths off the podium.

The other U.S. swimmer, Jessica Hardy, finished last in the eight-woman field.

ďIím really unsatisfied about the time, but a gold medal is a gold medal,Ē Kromowidjojo said.

ďIím really happy with the gold medal.Ē

In Soniís victory, South Africaís Suzaan van Biljon led at the first turn, but the American quickly seized control on the second lap.

She was ahead comfortablyby the second turn, then turned on the speed.

ďItís been my goal since I was a little kid to go under 2:20,Ē Soni said.

ďThatís when my coach told me youíre going to be the first woman to go under 2:19. Iíve been chasing it ever since. Iím just so happy.Ē

The U.S. team still picked up its second gold medal of the Thursday night session and 10th at the Olympic pool when Tyler Clary rallied on the final lap of the 200 backstroke to pull off the upset in an Olympic-record 1:53.41.

Japanís Ryosuke Irie also got by Lochte on the final stroke, taking silver in 1:53.78.

Lochteís time of 1:53.94 was good enough for his fourth medal of the London Games, but thatís far from the dominant meet he predicted.

In Soniís race, South Africaís Suzaan van Biljon led at the first turn, but the American quickly seized control on the second lap. She was comfortably ahead by the second turn, then turned on the speed to beat her own record.

ďItís been my goal since I was a little kid to go under 2:20,Ē Soni said. ďThatís when my coach told me youíre going to be the first woman to go under 2:19. Iíve been chasing it ever since. Iím just so happy.Ē

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