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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 29. REBECCA Soni, still looking for a bit of redemption after the shocking second-place finish to Breeja Larson in the 100 breast, blasted the field in the women's 200 breast semifinals at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Soni scorched the field by nearly three seconds with a 2:21.45. That effort broke the Trials record of 2:22.44 set by Amanda Beard back in 2004 in Long Beach. It also crushed her world-leading time of 2:22.22 this year. Overall, the time is tied with a Leisel Jones 2:21.45 from 2007 as the 15th-fastest mark all time. Soni now has seven of the top 15 times, with four of the six fastest textile times. Soni won this event in 2008 with a 2:22.60 to 2:25.13 triumph over Beard.
SwimMAC's Micah Lawrence wound up racing to second with a 2:24.12 to move to seventh in the world rankings. Lawrence wound up 17th in the 200 breast back in 2008, and has had marked improvement in the past four years. She is now set up for a shot at making the Olympic squad.
Andrea Kropp of Rattler had Soni to chase after in the second semifinal en route to a 2:24.93 for third. That performance is her first under 2:25 after having a lifetime best of 2:25.77 coming into the semifinal rounds. Laura Sogar earned fourth in 2:25.41, while Amanda Beard still has a shot at her fifth Olympic appearance after clocking a fifth-place 2:25.90. She has placed in the top two in this event for four straight years. Caitlin Leverenz, who won the 200 IM and placed second in the 400 IM, placed third in this event in 2008 and took sixth in 2:26.85 tonight.
100 breast winner Breeja Larson clocked a 2:26.95 to make the finale, while Haley Spencer rounded out the top eight in 2:27.21.
Rebecca Soni — 2:21.45
Micah Lawrence — 2:24.12
Andrea Kropp — 2:24.93
Laura Sogar — 2:25.41
Amanda Beard — 2:25.90
Caitlin Leverenz — 2:26.85
Breeja Larson — 2:26.95
Haley Spencer — 2:27.21