U.S. Olympic Trials: Rebecca Soni Defends 200 Breast Title With Trials Record; Micah Lawrence Picks Up Second

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OMAHA, Nebraska, June 30. REBECCA Soni raced to her second consecutive women's 200 breast title with a Trials record at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, while SwimMAC's Micah Lawrence held off the field for the second Olympic spot.

Soni charged down the finish with a 2:21.13. That effort beat her semifinal time of 2:21.45, which was a new Trials record. That swim had broken Amanda Beard's 2004 mark of 2:22.44 set in Long Beach. The world-leading time gave Soni her second individual swim of the 2012 London Games, after placing second in the 100 breast, and defended her 2008 title. She is the first person to defend a women's 200 breast title since Agnes Geraghty won the first two Trials titles in 1924 and 1928.

Lawrence, meanwhile, snared second with a time of 2:23.03. That swim pushed her to third in the world behind Soni and Satomi Suzuki (2:22.99), and smashed her lifetime best of 2:24.12. Lawrence vaulted from 17th in this event in 2008 to second to earn the Olympic bid.

Andrea Kropp of Rattler finished third in 2:24.82, nearly among the top 10 in the world this year, clipping her personal best of 2:24.93, while Laura Sogar placed fourth in 2:25.56 — just off her personal best.

Beard's attempt to make a fifth Olympic team was trounced with a fifth-place time of 2:26.42. She had previously won the race in 1996 and 2004, and placed second in both 2000 and 2008 to make the Olympic squad. The 30-year-old mother came up just a bit short of securing a fifth bid.

Breeja Larson, the 100 breaststroke victor, finished sixth in 2:27.52, while Haley Spencer (2:27.82) earned seventh. Caitlin Leverenz, already on the team in a pair of events including a 200 IM triumph, wound up eighth in 2:28.54 after taking third in 2008.