Swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics – Women's 200 metre breaststroke
|Women's 200 metre breaststroke|
at the Games of the XXX Olympiad
|Venue||London Aquatics Centre|
|Date||August 1, 2012 (heats &|
August 2, 2012 (final)
|Competitors||34 from 27 nations|
|Winning time||2:19.59 WR|
U.S. swimmer Rebecca Soni cleared a 2:20-barrier in a remarkable world record to defend her Olympic title for the first time in the event's history. Dominating the race from the start, she threw down a stunning time of 2:19.59 to open up a full-body length gap over the rest of the field on the final stretch. Meanwhile, Japan's Satomi Suzuki powered home with silver in a scorching time of 2:20.72 to match an Asian record previously held by Rie Kaneto in 2009. Russia's Yuliya Yefimova, who trained with Soni at the Trojan Swim Club, snatched the bronze medal with an astonishing European record in 2:20.92.
Denmark's Rikke Pedersen fell short of the podium by almost a full second with a fourth-place time in 2:21.65, and was followed in fifth by Canada's Martha McCabe (2:23.16) and sixth by Soni's teammate Micah Lawrence (2:23.27). South Africa's Suzaan van Biljon got off to a flying start in the first length, but dropped back to seventh in 2:23.72, while Australia's Sally Foster rounded out the field to eighth in 2:26.00.
Before the breakthrough finale, Soni scorched the field with a world-record time in 2:20.00 to pick up a top seed in the semifinals, slicing 0.12 seconds off the standard set by Canada's Annamay Pierse in a since-banned high tech bodysuit from the 2009 World Championships.
Other notable swimmers missed the final roster featuring Serbia's Nađa Higl, the 2009 world champion; Norway's Sara Nordenstam, the defending bronze medalist; and Jamaica's Alia Atkinson, fourth-place finalist in the 100 m breaststroke.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Annamay Pierse (CAN)||2:20.12||Rome, Italy||30 July 2009|||
|Olympic record||Rebecca Soni (USA)||2:20.22||Beijing, China||15 August 2008|||
The following records were established during the competition:
|August 1||Semifinal 2||Rebecca Soni||United States||2:20.00||WR, OR|
|August 2||Final||Rebecca Soni||United States||2:19.59||WR, OR|
|1||4||Rikke Pedersen||Denmark||2:22.23||Q, NR|
|3||5||Micah Lawrence||United States||2:23.39||Q|
|5||6||Back Su-Yeon||South Korea||2:24.67|
|1||4||Rebecca Soni||United States||2:20.00||Q, WR|
|3||2||Suzaan van Biljon||South Africa||2:23.21||Q, AF|
|5||7||Sara El Bekri||Morocco||2:25.86||NR|
|8||8||Jeong Da-Rae||South Korea||2:28.74|
|4||Rebecca Soni||United States||2:19.59||WR|
|6||7||Micah Lawrence||United States||2:23.27|
|7||2||Suzaan van Biljon||South Africa||2:23.72|
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