Was there a more impressive swimming race among American women at the 2012 Olympic Games than that turned in by Rebecca Soni in the 200-meter breaststroke?
I would say certainly not. In winning the event, Soni turned in a world-record time of 2:20.00 -- in the semi-finals -- to become the first woman in history to hit 2:20 in the 200 breaststroke. During the final heat, Soni swam even faster, touching the wall in 2:19.59 which, obviously, made her the first woman in history to swim the event faster than 2:20. That's a big barrier to break.
Soni is among the five women nominated for the 2012 Golden Goggles "Race of the Year -Women" award. Other nominees include Allison Schmitt's 200-meter freestyle performance, Katie Ledecky's 800-meter freestyle performance, Missy Franklin's 200-meter backstroke performance and Dana Vollmer's 100-meter butterfly performance.
Choosing Soni -- or anyone, for that matter -- from a field like that is a tough choice. Franklin and Vollmer each broke world records in their respective events. And in her event, Ledecky went out fast, led the pack from the beginning, and won the gold medal at just 15 years old. In the 200 freestyle, Schmitt broke both the Olympic and American records to win a stacked event by almost a body length.
Schmitt and Ledecky's Olympic swims were awesome. There is certainly no arguing with that. But in order to win this particular Golden Goggles award, I think a world record is necessary.
That leaves Vollmer, Soni and Franklin. I expected each of the three women to win their respective events, and I expected Vollmer and Franklin to break the world records. But Soni's sub-2:20 time was a surprise for me, which made it all the more exciting.
Because of the excitement factor alone, I'll be voting for Soni to win the Golden Goggles "Race of the Year - Women" award. Visit USA Swimming to cast your votes.
Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She is a longtime Olympic fan, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46
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- Swimming & Diving
- 2012 Olympic Games
- Katie Ledecky