Rebecca Soni Officially Announces Retirement

American breaststroking superstar Rebecca Soni has announced her retirement from swimming, ending a limbo that she’s been in having not competed since winning gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The 26-year old Soni, who is a native of New Jersey but now calls California home, has three Olympic gold medals, and three silvers, to her credit. The golds include back-to-back wins of the 200 breaststroke at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In that 2012 race, she broke the World Record, clearing an Annamay Pierce mark that had been done during the rubber-suit era. In the process, Soni’s 2:19.59 in finals opened a flood-gate of sorts, as the 2:20 barrier no longer stands as sturdy as it once did. Two women have gone under Soni’s old World Record since she last competed.

“Achieving my dream of going below two minutes and 20 seconds in the 200m breaststroke really put the storybook ending on my career,” said Soni. “I know I’ve conquered my goals in the pool, and now it’s time to conquer something else.”

The former USC Trojan ended her career on a high note, winning golds in her last two career swims (the 200 breast and the 400 medley relay).

After the Olympics, Soni announced that she would be taking a year off from swimming to explore academic options and to deal with back pain that had been plaguing her. She remained in the USADA drug testing pool, the only official measure of a swimmer’s retirement, throughout, however.

Soni, along with fellow Olympian Ariana Kukors, has now launched a “The Atlas Ventures” company, that they hope will inspire healthy attitudes and encourage exploration in young fans.

“Before I move away from swimming too much, I want to take the time to give back,” said Soni. “The swimming community has become my family and I want to do my best to inspire the next generation and to share some of the things I’ve learned.”

Soni was also a six-time NCAA Champion in her career, and still holds World Records as part of the 400 medley relays in both short course and long course meters. She’s also the American Record holder in 5 different events, including the 200 breast in long course meters and the 100 and 200 breaststrokes in short course meters.

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bobo gigi
7 years ago

I’m sad but at least she retires after a very successful last meet. Silver medal in the 100 breast. Gold medal in the 200 breast with a fantastic world record. And gold medal in the 4X100 medley relay with another world record.
She had her own technique and it worked really well for her.
She has been dominant and will remain among the greatest breaststrokers in history.
Nice person as well.
Very sweet voice to listen in interview.
Good luck for her future.

7 years ago

I am kinda sad but not surprised since she has not competed in so long. Soni was such a great swimmer and competitor, very exciting to watch.

7 years ago

I often wonder if financial compensation has something to do with a retirement. After all, NBA and NFL stars regularly compete into their mid-30’s if they remain competative. I can’t help but think swimmers would be the same if it came with 7 figure paydays. Clearly the fact that Michael Phelps is considering a comeback speaks to the potential.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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