Rebecca Soni sets world record to win Olympic 200m breastroke

United States' Rebecca Soni celebrates her gold medal

United States' Rebecca Soni celebrates her gold medal finish in the women's 200-meter breaststroke swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (Aug. 2, 2012) (Credit: AP)

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LONDON -- Rebecca Soni of the United States set another world record to defend her 200-meter breaststroke title at the London Olympics on Thursday.

Tearing through the water in her favorite pink suit, she touched in 2 minutes, 19.59 seconds, breaking the mark of 2:20.00 she set in the semifinals.

It was the sixth world record in the pool at these games.

She broke into a big smile when she saw the time, racing the clock more than she was anyone in the water. Japan's Satomi Suzuki took silver, more than a second behind at 2:20.72, while Russia's Yulia Efimova claimed bronze in 2:20.92.

"I'm so happy," Soni said. "I can't believe I did it."

South Africa's 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.

"It's been my goal since I was a little kid to go under 2:20," Soni said. "That's when my coach told me you're going to be the first woman to go under 2:19. I've been chasing it ever since. I'm just so happy."

Soni was also favored to win the 100 breast but took silver behind surprise 15-year-old winner Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania.

Meilutyte did not enter the 200.

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