Rebecca Soni

Rebecca Soni retires from swimming

Leave a comment

Rebecca Soni hasn’t competed since the 2012 Olympics, and she won’t do so again, retiring from the sport.

Soni, 26, won six Olympic medals over two Games in 2008 and 2012. She won the 200m breaststroke in both Olympics, split gold and silver in the 4x100m medley relay and took two silvers in the 100m breast.

She seemed to cherish the 2012 Olympic 200m gold the most. She broke the world record in the final and became the first woman to break 2 minutes, 20 seconds in the event.

“Achieving my dream of going below 2 minutes and 20 seconds in the 200m breaststroke really put the storybook ending on my career,” Soni said, according to SwimSwam. “I know I’ve conquered my goals in the pool, and now it’s time to conquer something else.”

Soni’s record was broken by Dane Rikke Moller Pedersen at the 2013 World Championships.

If Soni never swims competitively again, it will mark an outlier among major U.S. Olympic swimmers. Soni’s last Olympic swim came at age 25.

Janet Evans attempted to make the 2012 Olympic Team at age 40. Dara Torres was 41 in 2008. Jenny Thompson was 31 in 2004. Natalie Coughlin, 31, and Amanda Beard, 32, are still swimming.

“I considered coming back several time, and it has been fun watching the girls step up and swim so amazingly,” Soni said, according to Swimming World. “It’s been really fun to watch them, but I never felt that calling to get back in there. I had already done my piece, and now is a great time to take the next forward, and maybe approach things from the other side. That’s what motivated me to get the retirement out there.”

In retirement, Soni has launched a company called “The Atlas Ventures” with retired world champion Ariana Kukors to assist current athletes.

“Before I move away from swimming too much, I want to take the time to give back,” Soni told SwimSwam. “The swimming community has become my family, and I want to do my best to inspire the next generation and to share some of the things I’ve learned.”

Ian Thorpe in rehab for depression, alcohol abuse

Rebecca Soni, Pilates teacher, asked about 2016 Olympics

Rebecca Soni
1 Comment

To those wondering if and when Rebecca Soni will return to swimming competition: keep waiting.

Soni, 26 and a six-time Olympic medalist, was asked about the 2016 Olympics by the (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) Beach Reporter weekly newspaper in an article published Thursday.

I have to ask about you about 2016 Summer Olympics; have you decided to go for it again?

At the moment, I’m focusing on things away from the pool, but you never know.

That’s in line with what the Los Angeles Times reported in March, that “for now, she is not sure about her future in the pool, beyond taking off this year.”

Soni was still in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s drug-testing pool as of the second quarter of 2013, meaning she wouldn’t have to wait nine months before returning to international competition (like Michael Phelps would).

Soni attended the World Championships in Barcelona in August, where Dane Rikke Møller Pedersen broke her world record in the 200-meter breaststroke semifinals (video here).

If Soni decides to come back for 2016, she’ll put a sterling Olympic record on the line. She has won a medal in every Olympic event she has entered (two golds in the 200 breast, two silvers in the 100 breast and one of each in the medley relay). She won’t catch Natalie Coughlin, who went 11 for 11 over three Games.

But Soni can break former rival Leisel Jones‘ record of most Olympic medals in breaststroke events. Soni has four. The retired Jones has five.

Soni also told the Beach Reporter she will start teaching Pilates classes next week (Tuesdays at 6 and 7 a.m. at Redondo RockIt Body Pilates) after working to become a certified instructor this year.

Missy Franklin expected to make Cal debut Friday

Coed swim relays at the Olympics?

1 Comment

FINA, swimming’s governing body, is apparently throwing a 4x50m coed medley relay onto the schedule at its World Cup meet in Dubai this week, and maybe seven other events later this year. If all goes well we could soon see the race at the world championships and eventually even the Olympics.

The teams will be made up of two men and two women, and, for sake of strategy and a bit of fun, the teams are allowed to put together their legs of the race however they see fit, meaning they can pit men against women depending on what advantage the group is attempting to gain.

“It will be extremely exciting for the first couple of years,” 100m breast champ Cameron Van der Burgh told the Associated Press Monday. “No one knows what will happen. Who are the favorites? How it will work? Who they will choose? I’m all for making sport bigger.”

While smart money and zealous assumptions would suggest an American team made up of famous names like Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and Ryan Lochte… a little math says that none of those gold medal swimmers would have made the cut for a hypothetical American squad in London.

Why? When you look at the results you realize that the disparity between men’s and women’s times in the backstroke and breaststroke is greater than in the butterfly and freestyle by a full second or two, so you’d want to put girls in the latter two strokes and the men in the first two.

In London that probably would have meant the Americans starting with Matt Grevers, who won gold with an Olympic record in the 100m back in London, followed by breaststroke bronze-medalist Brendan Hansen in the second leg. Then you’d definitely put world record holder Dana Vollmer in the butterfly (Team USA’s biggest advantage) and Jessica Hardy, who finished seventh in the 50m freestyle as the anchor.

Sure, you might not want to anchor with your weakest swimmer, so maybe you swap her for Cullen Jones – who won silver in the men’s 50m free – but then you risk giving up an extra second or two by swapping out Hansen for Rebecca Soni in the breaststroke. And can you really leave Phelps, Lochte, Missy, Soni, and Nathan Adrian off this team?

See, this is when it gets fun, and why we can’t wait to see this race added to the Olympics. Fingers crossed.

See also: Germans take first 4×50 mixed relay