PHOENIX, Arizona, December 8. REBECCA Soni, the reigning Swimming World Magazine Female World Swimmer of the Year, joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show to look back on her successful performances in 2011.
Surprisingly, Soni's goals for 2012 are relatively small, considering she is the reigning Olympic champion in the 200 breaststroke. She talks about goals, plans for retirement and activities she's involved in outside the pool. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)
Peter Busch: This is The Morning Swim Show for Thursday, December 8th 2011. I'm your host, Peter Busch. In the FINIS monitor today we'll talk to Rebecca Soni. She is Swimming World Magazine's Female World Swimmer of the Year for 2011 and Rebecca joins us right now in the FINIS monitor from Los Angeles. Hey, Rebecca, congratulations — two years in a row for you.
Rebecca Soni: Thank you. I was really excited to hear the news about that.
Peter Busch: And you were the cover girl, you beat out Ryan Lochte for that, so another congratulations.
Rebecca Soni: Thanks, I'm not sure why, I know he had an amazing year with his world record last summer. I'm kind of surprised that they didn't put him on there, but I'm really excited.
Peter Busch: Because you're better looking, how about that, Rebecca?
Rebecca Soni: Thanks, I don't know about that.
Peter Busch: All right, looking back on 2011 in the pool, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 you just won the Powerball, how pleased are you with the way you swam?
Rebecca Soni: I'm really happy with the way I swam. There were a lot of great races at that meet but I think that I swam the best I could and I definitely knew there were a couple of things I could fix going into next year but I'm really happy with the swims overall.
Peter Busch: So a 10, 9?
Rebecca Soni: I'll give it a 9, it was a great experience and a really fun meet so I'll give it a 9.
Peter Busch: Are you surprised you didn't win the best female swimmer at the Golden Goggles?
Rebecca Soni: No, not at all. I know that Missy is such a great up-and-comer and I know she's going to have an amazing future. She came home with five medals so I'm not really surprised.
Peter Busch: What is the goal for 2012? If you could say it in one sentence, what is the goal?
Rebecca Soni: My goal is to make it to the Olympic team. I've been there before so I definitely want to make it again and then swim the best I can there.
Peter Busch: Come on, that is not the goal.
Rebecca Soni: It is in my head. If I start getting too wrapped up in medals and times and records and all that it's just going to stress me out so the way I look at it is I really just want to make it and I know if I'm mentally in a good place then I'll have a great meet.
Peter Busch: Well, in an Olympic year do you guys really even care about the times or is it just about winning?
Peter Busch: I think that depends person to person. I definitely care about the times and I'm chasing my best times for a couple of years now and definitely would love to get close to them especially the times from the suit years so times definitely do matter but when it comes down to it especially at trials you just want to be number 1 and number 2.
Peter Busch: Your best time in the 200 is still what you went at the 2008 Olympics. I know suits have changed, you're in textile suits now, but can you say you're a better swimmer now than you were in 2008?
Rebecca Soni: I'm not sure if I'm a better swimmer, I think I'm probably a better overall athlete than I was in 2008. I was doing a lot of different things but now that I've been training at the professional side of swimming I think I really have gotten a chance to do certain things out of the pool that I want to do to help improve my athleticism overall so I'm doing a lot more stuff out of the pool and I think that has improved my overall athletic abilities and that should relate to swimming hopefully.
Peter Busch: The last time we talked, I think it was right before Shanghai, and you talked about you were still a little nervous about that 200, you felt the memories of 2009. Are they gone now? Do you feel more at ease with that swim?
Rebecca Soni: Yes, I think I feel a little bit more – as I've gotten better and better at the 100 the 200 starts to feel longer and longer. I've gotten a chance to race it last weekend at Nationals and a couple of times in between and it went really well so I think I'm heading in the right direction to get rid of those memories.
Peter Busch: You're 24 now?
Rebecca Soni: Yes.
Peter Busch: So you'll be 25 for London. Do you want to swim beyond that or is it too soon to tell?
Rebecca Soni: It's too soon to tell. I'm really not sure. I'm 50-50 right now if I want to or if I don't but I think it will definitely be a big break at least if I do continue swimming.
Peter Busch: What else do you want to do outside the pool? I noticed you're doing some volunteer coaching at USC?
Rebecca Soni: Yes, I'm kind of just – it's a way for me to stay in touch with the team and still be a part of their program because I had so much fun swimming for them in college and I still want to be a part of it so I've been doing that but I'm really not sure what I want to do, I'd love to get back to school and definitely really interested in nutrition and taking some online classes for that so we'll see how everything fits together.
Peter Busch: I know you do some charity work or volunteer work as well. You're involved with some foundations. Tell us about it.
Rebecca Soni: Yes, I'm involved with GirlUp Foundation. It's part of the United Nations and it's a really fun campaign. Their slogan is "For girls, by girls" really just helping young girls in countries live a better life and avoid child marriage and stuff like that. I get to go to schools and talk to all these young girls and they really love the stuff that we're telling them, teaching them about the world and about the way life is in places that aren't as privileged as where we have. It's really fun, it's been great, I've travelled a little bit for them but I really hope to get out of the country and see one of their programs firsthand once I actually have some time off swimming so I'd love to do that probably after the Olympics.
Peter Busch: That's interesting. How did you get involved with it?
Rebecca Soni: It just happened to come into – we kind of fell into each other's hands. They were starting the campaign when I was looking for somebody to partner up with after college when you're allowed to have those sort of associations. We were looking for different campaigns and foundations and I was working with my agents and they just happen to run into this GirlUp campaign and it really just clicked and they were really excited and they've come out to Pan Pacs when they had that foundation tent out there which was pretty cool to have them come support me even though I'm supporting them too.
Peter Busch: Very neat. How's your family?
Rebecca Soni: Family is good, they're all getting home. I'm getting ready for that and I'm excited and they're doing great.
Peter Busch: I'm sorry, you broke up as you were answering it. Tell me again, it sounded like maybe you were mentioning holiday plans.
Rebecca Soni: Yes, I was just saying they're good and they're getting excited for Christmas and to have my sister and I come home.
Peter Busch: You'll go back to the East Coast for a few days?
Rebecca Soni: Yes, they're actually in Arizona.
Peter Busch: Oh, they're in Arizona now?
Rebecca Soni: They are, yes, they've been there for about six years.
Peter Busch: What part?
Rebecca Soni: They're in Sedona.
Peter Busch: Oh, that's only a couple of hours away from us.
Rebecca Soni: Yes.
Peter Busch: Well, you'll have to come on down if you get the chance. We'd love to have you here at Swimming World.
Rebecca Soni: Yes, maybe I'll drive through on my way.
Peter Busch: Very cool. Well congratulations again on winning Swimming World Magazine's Female World Swimmer of the Year award, two years in a row, excellent, well-deserved, and good luck as we enter this big Olympic year.
Rebecca Soni: Thank you so much.
Peter Busch: All right, happy holidays.
Rebecca Soni: You too.
Peter Busch: All right, that's Rebecca Soni joining us in the FINIS monitor today and that is it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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