Thursday morning, Rebecca Soni broke out the neon pink one-piece Arena bathing suit once again. The suit had been in the spotlight Wednesday as Soni set the 200 meter breaststroke world record in her semifinals race.
The pink suit, trimmed in black, and the black swim cap with the American flag and "SONI" on the side bobbed up and down in the water Thursday as Soni competed. She may have been racing for the gold medal, but it was clear she wasn't battling the other competitors. Soni was only racing against herself and the clock.
"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." - ESPN news services
And that's exactly what Soni did, finishing in a blistering 2:19.59 to become the first woman ever to break 2:20 in the 200 meter breaststroke. She sliced off an extra 0.41 seconds from her already remarkable semifinals time. In the process of setting the new world record, Soni also became the first woman to repeat as an Olympic champion in the breaststroke.
Soni's gold was her second medal of the London Olympics after she finished second in the 100 meter breaststroke. It is USC's second gold medal of the 2012 Olympics.
Fellow USC alum Clement Lefert already had a silver and a gold racing with the French relay teams, but did not advance out of the preliminaries in the 100 meter butterfly, finishing in 30th. Current Trojan swimmer Lynette Lin, competing for Singapore, also struggled on Thursday finishing 31st in the 800 meter freestyle.
USC Olympians also had mixed results in the water polo pool where Shea Buckner scored his first two Olympic goals in a 13-7 win for Team USA. But the results weren't as good for Trojans' Joel Dennerly and James Clark playing for Australia. The Aussies took a 13-9 loss despite Dennerly making six saves before giving way to Clark late in the third period. Clark made three saves in his Olympic debut.
Other Trojans in action were in volleyball. The USC duo of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross took a tough beach matchup against the Spanish duo of Baquerizo McMillan and Fernandez Steinerl to win Pool D and advance to the round of 16. The Spanish duo had match point twice, but Kessy and Ross battled back and took the deciding set 19-17. Kessy and Ross will take on the Swiss team of Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr in the round of 16.
Representing USC in indoor volley was Donald Suxho, who helped Team USA claim a spot in the quarterfinals with a 3-1 upset of the world's No. 1 ranked Brazil. Suxho finished with 81 assists, 14 digs and 11 blocks in the win.