Soni, Hardy dominate 100 breast stroke in Missouri Grand Prix

Friday, February 18, 2011 | 10:07 p.m. CST; updated 10:45 p.m. CST, Friday, February 18, 2011
Women's 100-meter breaststroke gold medalist Rebecca Soni, middle, waves to the crowd at the Missouri Grand Prix on Friday. Silver medalist Jessica Hardy stands to her right and bronze medalist Ann Chandler to her left.

COLUMBIA — Jessica Hardy holds the world record in the 100 meter breaststroke with a 1:04.05 at the 2009 U.S. Open National Championships. Her teammate, Rebecca Soni, won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 200 meter breaststroke.

"We're very good friends outside of the water, but we're also very strong competitors, and when we're in the water we really want to win," Hardy said.

Friday's Individual Results

Women's 200 meter freestyle

1. Sutton, Chloe 1:59.38

2. Knutson, Dagny 1:59.95

3. Myers, Whitney 2:01.95

Men's 200 meter freestyle

1. Mellouli, Oussama 1:47.03

2. Pereira, Thiago 1:49.81

3. Rogan, Markus 1:49.98

Women's 100 meter breaststroke

1. Soni, Rebecca 1:05.89

2. Hardy, Jessica 1:07.22

3. Chandler, Ann 1:08.86

Men's 100 meter breast stroke

Race being redone Saturday

Women's 100 meter butterfly

1. Joyce, Kara Lynne 1:01.22

2. Myers, Whitney 1:01.35

3. Nelson, Kelly 1:02.28

Men's 100 meter butterfly

1. Dunford, Jason 52.76

2. Kishida, Masayu 53.14

3. McGill, Tyler 53.41

Women's 400 individual medley

1. Flickinger, Hali 4:47.27

2. Stupp, Julie 4:52.68

3. McDermott, Amber 4:52.87

Men's 400 individual medley

1. Mellouli, Oussama 4:13.38

2. Ford, Andrew 4:25.78

3. Omana, Carlos 4:25.83

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On Friday at the Missouri Grand Prix, Soni got the best of Hardy and set a meet record with 1:05.89 in the 100 meter breaststroke. Hardy took home silver with 1:07.22.

"I don't really worry about anyone else, but she's inspiring when she pops out 1:05s, you know, its inspiring to help push myself in practice," Hardy said of Soni.

Although they push each other to succeed, the swimmers said they do not often practice together because their styles are so different: Soni's success is built on endurance while Hardy's is built on sprinting.

In fact, Hardy said she was happy with the way she swam because she can "count on her fingers" the number of times she has swam breaststroke since she set the world record in August 2009. 

She is now focusing most of her practice on becoming a better sprint freestyle swimmer.

"Breaststroke is more of a technique stroke that I can pull together just before the 2012 Olympics," Hardy said. "Freestyle is a fun new challenge that I've really been enjoying working on."

Soni is optimistic about her teammate's future as a sprinter.

"She's got a lot of fire in her, so I'm sure great things are coming," Soni said. "And seeing her train every day, I know it for sure."

Both swimmers will have more chances to see where they stand this weekend. Hardy will compete in the 50 meter freestyle on Saturday and the 100 meter freestyle on Sunday. Soni will compete in the 200 meter breaststroke on Saturday and the 200 meter individual medley on Sunday.

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