FINA World Championships, Swimming: Rebecca Soni Continues Mastery of 200 Breast in Semis

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SHANGHAI, China, July 28. REBECCA Soni is one step closer to erasing the nightmare of the women's 200 breast finale from 2009 after dominating semis tonight at the FINA World Long Course Championships.

Soni earned the top seed in the finale of the distance breaststroke event with a 2:21.03.

"I'm really happy with my time tonight," Soni said. "I believe I can be faster tomorrow night."

She will be looking to wipe away one of the very few stains on her career, the 2009 edition of this event. Soni took that swim out extremely hard with a 1:42.20 split at the 150-meter mark, more than a second under Annamay Pierse's world record pace, but she fell apart after the turn and nearly clocked a 40-second split to fall completely off the podium.

The likelihood of that happening again this year is slim, as she qualified more than two seconds ahead of Russia's Yuliya Efimova, who earned the second seed with a 2:23.66.

Efimova just missed the Russian record of 2:23.50 set by Anastasia Chaun last year. Chaun, notably, withdrew from Worlds this year after a blood doping test fiasco left her with a blood clot that left her unable to compete shortly before the start of the meet.

China's Sun Ye clocked in third with a 2:24.59, while Pierse, the world-record holder for Canada, took fourth with a 2:24.73. Denmark's Rikke Pedersen (2:24.80), Canada's Martha McCabe (2:24.86), Japan's Rie Kaneto (2:25.41), and Serbia's Nadja Higl (2:25.56) also earned spots in the finale.