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London Olympics: Rebecca Soni wins gold in world-record time

August 02, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Rebecca Soni reacts after winning gold and setting a world record in the 200-meter breaststroke.
Rebecca Soni reacts after winning gold and setting a world record in the… (Al Bello / Getty Images )

LONDON -- Rebecca Soni's world record in the 200-meter breaststroke lasted all of one day.

Then the defending Olympic champion rewrote her own work, becoming the first woman to break the 2-minute, 20-second barrier, winning Olympic gold in 2:19.59 on Thursday at the Aquatics Centre.

"I can't believe it," said Soni, the former USC standout who still trains with the Trojan Swim Club. 

PHOTOS: London Olympics — Day 6

Taking the silver was Satomi Suzuki of Japan (2:20.72). Soni had broken the world record on Wednesday night in the semifinals, going 2:20.00.

She referenced the inspiration from an early mentor.

"I'm so excited. I did it!" Soni said in an interview with the BBC on the pool deck. "Oh my gosh, I've been chasing that for years and years. That was my coach, back when I was in high school, who told me I was going to go 2:19. I've been keeping that to myself as a secret goal."

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