FINA World Championships, Swimming: Stain Erased; Rebecca Soni Triumphs in 200 Breast

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SHANGHAI, China, July 29. WHILE she didn't threaten either the world record or the textile best in the women's 200 breast, USA's Rebecca Soni completed what she set out to do and that was erase one of the biggest stains on her career.

With a dominant 2:21.47 in the women's 200 breast, Soni collected the world title at the FINA World Long Course Championships. Similar to a boxer gaining some revenge for a loss on their record with a win in a rematch, Soni had been looking to wipe away the taint of her 2009 performance in the women's 200 breast.

"I'm really happy to win the gold medal, since I have been working so hard for it for a very long time," Soni said. "It's a really nice night for me, and I wanted to be faster than last night. Some of the other swimmers are really tough to swim against, but they push me to keep going in the race. I definitely saw [Yuliya Efimova] and am really happy for her. We always have a great time swimming against each other."

Soni took that swim out aggressively with a 1:42.20 split at the 150-meter mark, more than a second under Annamay Pierse's world record pace, but fell apart after the turn and nearly clocked a 40-second split to fall completely off the podium.

Russia's Yuliya Efimova finished with a silver in 2:22.22, closing hard on Soni but ran out of room, while Canada's Martha McCabe rounded out the podium with a bronze-winning 2:24.81.

China's Sun Ye (2:25.09), Japan's Rie Kaneto (2:25.36), Serbia's Nadja Higl (2:25.93), Denmark's Rikke Pedersen (2:26.56) and Canada's Annamay Pierse (2:27.00) also competed in the finale.