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Soni Sinks Sun's Hopes & Takes The Triple

Dec 19, 2010  - Craig Lord

Dubai, world s/c championships, day 5 finals:

Women's 200m breaststroke

Rebecca Soni (USA) confirmed her status as the world No1 breaststroke ace with a 2:16.39 championship-record victory that delivered a sweep: she had already won the 50m and 100m crowns in championship record time. Each time Soni, coached by Dave Salo at USC in California, was challenged by Ye Sun (CHN), of Shanghai, she dug deeper and found the reserve to move ahead once more, the cumulative effect to much for the Chinese competitor on her way to silver in 2:18.09, a big best time 1.68sec inside the time she established in heats this morning.  The bronze went to Rikke Moeller Pedersen (DEN) in 2:18.82.

The champion's time was the best ever in textile, inside the 2:17.75 of Leisel Jones from 2003, though well shy of Soni's own plastic-fantastic world mark of 2:14.57 in 2009 before the January 1, 2010 ban on boosters. 

The triple sweep in her treasury of achievements, Soni said: "It's a really exciting feeling. I came here looking top get some good racing and I've had a great time; it's been a great meet. I really like having the 50 first and then the distances getting longer and longer but having said that I got used to the sprints and that 200m felt really long! I just had to stretch out for the first 100m and then push the second 200m."

The result:

  • Soni (USA)          31.46; 1:05.93; 1:41.15; 2:16.39 CR
  • Sun  (CHN)          31.77; 1:06.60; 1:42.24; 2:18.09
  • Pedersen (DEN)      31.90; 1:07.03; 1:42.66; 2:18.82
  • Yulia Efimova (RUS) 32.94; 1:08.49; 1:44.30; 2:19.69
  • Marthya McCabe (CAN) 2:20.61
  • Ji Liping (CHN)      2:21.05
  • Rie Kaneto (JPN)     2:22.11
  • Alia Atkinson (BAH)  2:25.49

History in the making:

World s/c Podiums

  • 2010: 2:16.39; 2:18.09; 2:18.82
  • 2008: 2:18.73; 2:20.11; 2:20.48
  • 2006: 2:20.72; 2:21.77; 2:23.49

Most world titles in this event:  2

  • Qi Hui (CHN) 2002, 2006

Records (TB = best ever in a textile suit)

  • WR: 2:14.57 Rebecca Soni (USA) 18.12.09
  • TB:  2:17.75 Leisel Jones (AUS) 29.11.03

Most world records in this event (since specific 25m records began in 1991): 2

  • Dai Guohong (CHN); Qi Hui (CHN); Annamay Pierse (CAN); Leisel Jones (AUS)

All-time textile rankings top 5:

  • 2:16.39 Soni Dubai 2010
  • 2:17.75 Jones 2003 
  • 2:18.09 Sun Dubai 2010
  • 2:18.82 Pedersen Dubai 2010
  • 2:18.86 Qi 2002

From the archive: 

Hungarian women's swimming has enjoyed something of a revival of late, with Katina Hosszu, Evelyn Verraszto, Zuszanna Jakabos and Agnes Mutina at the helm of a crew capable of making the biggest of podiums. It is not the first time that the Magyars have had a strong team of women and one of those to the fore of a golden era in the early 1950s was breaststroke world record holder (the last to use butterfly arms) Eva Novak. At the time, between 1950 and 1954, Hungary had, on average, twice as many entries in the world top 10 rankings as the United States. At the 1952 Games, the 100m freestyle crown went to Katalin Szoke (1:06.8), with Judit Temes third (1:07.1, same time as Harrison and Joan Alderson, USA); the 400m to Valeria Gyenge (5:12.1, Olympic record) 1.6sec ahead of Novak; the 200m breaststroke to Eva Szekely (2:51.7, Olympic record), using butterfly arms to finish 2.7sec up on Novak in second, while the 4x100m freestyle quartet (Ilona Novak, Temes, Eva Novak, Szoke) set a world record of 4:24.4 that would stand until an Australian foursome including Dawn Fraser and Lorraine Crapp raised the bar in 1956.