|Soni celebrates after setting her world record to reach the 200-meter breaststroke final. (Getty Images)|
LONDON -- Rebecca Soni of the United States set a world record in the 200-meter breaststroke semifinals at the London Olympics on Wednesday.
Soni timed 2 minutes, 20.00 seconds, shaving 0.12 seconds off the previous mark set by Annamay Pierse of Canada at the 2009 world championships in Rome in a now-banned bodysuit.
It was the fifth world record set in the pool at these games.
Rikke Pedersen of Denmark qualified second in 2:22.23 and Satomi Suzuki of Japan was third in 2:22.40.
The top eight finishers qualified for Thursday's final.
Soni was also favored to win the 100 breast but took silver behind surprise 15-year-old winner Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania.
Meilutyte did not enter the 200.