Soni Wins 200m Breast At Olympic Trials

July 4, 2008

U.S. Olympic Trials Results

USC senior Rebecca Soni became the third fastest woman ever in the 200-meter breaststroke, winning the event Friday (July 4) at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb., and earning her first trip to the Olympics.

Soni, who swam a lifetime best in the semifinals Thursday to qualify as the top seed for the final, provided plenty of fireworks on America's Independence Day. She led wire-to-wire, touching in 2:22.60, 0.16 off Amanda Beard's American record. Beard only slightly surprised the field, finishing second to earn her fourth Olympic trip.

'I took in the crowd, heard them cheering and they pushed me to go far,' Soni said of her phenomenal swim.

Soni finished fourth in the 100m breast earlier in the meet but left no doubt about whether she would clinch an Olympic berth in the 200m breast.

'I don't think it's really set in yet,' Soni said. 'It feels really great. I had a great race and dropped some time. I could tell from the crowd that I was faster than this morning. I hurt a little bit on the last 25 but finished with all I had. I'm excited to make the team.'

Former Trojan All-American Hayley McGregory, who missed out on making the Olympics in the 100m back, swam the second-fastest time in the semifinals of the 200m back (2:08.28), earning a spot in Saturday's final.

USC sophomore Jake Grosser swam in the 50m free, finishing 95th (23.59). Former Trojan All-American Gabe Woodward finished 14th (22.57) after a berth in the semifinal.

Recently graduated senior co-captain Bryce Elser was 37th in the 100m fly (54.33) while former Trojan Erik Tolmachoff was 17th (53.54), just missing a spot in the semifinals.

On Saturday, former Trojan distance greats and Olympic medalists Larsen Jensen and Erik Vendt, who both have already made the 2008 U.S. squad headed to China, will compete in the 1500m free prelims as the top two seeds. A finish in the top 8 will get them a berth into Sunday's final.

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