Rebecca Soni Officially Announces Retirement

  29 Braden Keith | January 30th, 2014 | Featured, National, News

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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29 Comments on "Rebecca Soni Officially Announces Retirement"


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bobo gigi
2 years 6 months 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.

2 years 6 months 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.

James
2 years 6 months 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.

Mish Kromo
2 years 6 months ago

Very sad to hear of Rebecca Soni’s retirement. She was and will remain an inspiration and hero to many including myself. Thank you for being an unbelievable role model to female swimmers across the world. Go well Reb. Nothing but the best for all your future ventures 🙂

bobo gigi
2 years 6 months ago

Little tribute. Her olympic gold medal in the 200 breast in 2012.

weirdo
2 years 6 months ago

Unlike Bobo, I like when swimmers retire at the top of their game. She won Gold with a world record! Much better than going out after getting 4th place! Thanks for the memories Reb.

bobo gigi
2 years 6 months ago

That’s exactly what I said.
So I repeat.
I’m sad she retires. Swimming will miss her.
But I’m happy she retires at the top of her game.
That’s what I say about Michael Phelps since London.
I’m sad to not see him in the water anymore.
But I’m happy he has gone after winning his last 3 races. His last race is a win with a team. He couldn’t expect a better way of leaving the scene.
If he comes back, I will be very happy but also worried.
I don’t want to see him swim average races.
I don’t want to see him retire like Michael Jordan or Ian Thorpe.
Pete Sampras, for example, had the perfect retirement. After a surprised win at the 2002 US Open. Against his longtime big rival Andre Agassi. His last tournament. At home. It was perfect.

Weird, we have the same opinion about that.

bobo gigi
2 years 6 months ago

Weirdo

weirdo
2 years 6 months ago

Ok Bobo…didn’t understand your French. 😉 We agree that Michael should stay retired and end career on top of his game.

fan388
2 years 6 months ago

If it made sense financially to go out in 4th place (nothing to sneeze at) then more power to her. Going out at the top is over rated in terms of the professional aspect and endorsement deals. These pro swimmers consider the value proposition (pain/gain) and decide when to fire themselves from their income stream and do something else.

UVA Mama
2 years 6 months ago

Congratulations to Rebecca for an outstanding career and for doing such a great job representing the USA. I am proud of her and she will really be missed in competition. It was always exciting to watch her race, and I feel sure she will go on to do great things for the world of swimming.

Jack
2 years 6 months ago

I think this is the best and most smart move for Rebecca Soni. She is going out a legend, the first to crack 2.20. But, she knows breaststroke is changing, Meilutyte and Moeller Pedersen are changing the game and it would have been hard for her to come back and be the best, impossible on the 100m event to be honest. Great career!

PsychoDad
2 years 6 months ago

Very well said. I really like Rebecca (have soft spot for all Romanian people) but her retirement is good for American female breaststroke. Now, young female swimmers, can look up to Ruta or Pedersen, for technique that can work for most people. Very few people, if any, could swim fast with breaststroke technique the way Rebecca did, and many girls were trying to copy her.

Billy
2 years 6 months ago

Her parents are Hungarian………..

2 years 6 months ago

Don’t muddy the waters with facts, Billy.

Jg
2 years 6 months ago

There has been an 800 year old history of ethnic Romanians in Hungary & ethnic Hungarians in Romania. Currently there are over 1 million ethnic Romanians in Hungary – approx 6% . I think the people stay & the borders change.

The name looks like a shortened Romanian / roman one but Hungarian is a weird linguistic puzzle anyhow.

Jg
2 years 6 months ago

Further , if one had a keen eye , one could distinguish who was what during Eastern bloc sports comps . The Hungarians would give an extra cheer for Hungarian ethnics in the Romanian team & vv.

The gymnastic comps were especially interesting .

gosharks
2 years 6 months ago

PsychoDad:

You just couldn’t help yourself — had to send her into retirement with a backhanded compliment…

beachmouse
2 years 6 months ago

IIRC, she’d deferred some sort of surgery until after London. Could be she decided the magic just wasn’t going to be back after that, and finally filed the papers.

Philip Johnson
2 years 6 months ago

One of the all-time greats! Best of luck to her in the future. It was a pleasure watching her come from a unknown in 2008 to beat Jones, then develop into a dominate swimmer in her own right.

DanishSwimFan
2 years 6 months ago

While I’m sad we won’t see her competing again, it’s good her last memories of competitive international swimming will be a gold medal and world record, not a bad way to go 🙂

Wish her the best of luck with her new venture.

marley09
2 years 6 months ago

I hope she writes a book someday. Would love to hear about behind the scenes strategy or Rome world champs final, the whole tara kirks/hardy thing, comparing those 2 olympics, good-bad-great stuff about USC, moving from new jersey and maybe clearing up the Romanian or Hungarian question posed above (smiley face)

Swimmer
2 years 6 months ago

Rebecca did clear up the Hungarian/Romanian thing in an interview in 2010. (see http://www.swimvortex.com/farewell-to-rebecca-soni-off-on-venture-with-ariana-kukors/)

Apparently she is ethnically Hungarian but her parents are from Romania in an area where ethnic Hungarians live (Transylvania region).

Billy
2 years 6 months ago

Just say that her parents are Romgarian. That will make everyone happy. I think.

Jg
2 years 6 months ago

Yep . Look no further than Bela Karolyis . Never a more Hungarian name for never a more Romanian icon.

Psych dad wins this round.

PsychoDad
2 years 6 months ago

Her parents are from Hungary but they are Romanian.

PsychoDad
2 years 6 months ago

I meant they are Romanian, but might be of Hungarian ethnicity – that I am not sure.

liquidassets
2 years 6 months ago

Soni is USAmerican, full stop. And the best USAmerican breaststroker in history. I’m intrigued to see how “The Atlas Ventures” company that she’s starting with Arianna Kukors plays out.

Scott nelsen
1 month 29 days ago

Rebecca is a world class human being! Great person

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