Soni 2008 Honda Award Finalist

March 24, 2008

USC junior Rebecca Soni, who last week won NCAA titles in the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke, has been named one of four finalists for the 2007-2008 Honda Sports Award in swimming and diving, Honda Sports Award officials announced on Monday (March 24).

The Honda Award honors the top women collegiate athletes in all sports. The winner of the swimming and diving honor will become a candidate for The Honda-Broderick Cup awarded annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.

In addition to Soni, Florida's Caroline Burckle and Gemma Spofforth and Arizona's Lacey Nymeyer are also nominated for the award.

Voting is done by NCAA senior women administrators. Balloting closes March 31 at 5 p.m. PDT.

Soni, from Plainsboro, N.J., is the top collegiate breaststroker in the country and a member of the U.S. National team. Her title in the 200y breast (in an NCAA meet record 2:06.32) was her third consecutive NCAA title in the event, making her just the third woman ever to win the event three times in a row.

Her NCAA title in the 100y breast (59.19) was her first (and USC's first) after a sixth-place finish as a sophomore and a second as a freshman. Soni, USC's first swimmer to win two NCAA titles in the same season since Kaitlin Sandeno in 2004, also earned All-American honors as part of USC's 400y medley relay. She did all of this less than two years after undergoing surgery to correct a rapid heartbeat condition.

Soni's season-best and NCAA record 2:06.11 in the 200y breast, which came during her 2008 Pac-10 title-winning swim, is the second-fastest ever in the event, behind only Tara Kirk's 2:05.73. Like she did at the NCAA Championships, Soni also won the 100y breast at the Pac-10 Championships (to give her four Pac-10 titles for her career). She re-set her own school record with a time of 58.98, also becoming just the fourth woman ever to go under 59 seconds in the race.

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