Rebecca Soni earned three medals (two gold and one silver) in London to go along with the three (two silver, one gold) that she picked up at Beijing in 2008.
ThePostGame: You started swimming when you were 10. When did you realize you were pretty exceptional in the pool? And when were your first Olympic aspirations?:
REBECCA SONI: Ever since I was young and in the pool I just really had fun with it. I never really thought about going to the Olympics when I was older, and I didn't really ever have specific goals, I just enjoyed every day in the pool. It probably wasn't until I was in college at USC that I thought I might really have a chance at making the Olympic team.
TPG: Tell me about your training regimen. And how did your training change when the Olympics became a real possibility?
SONI: I always kept training mostly the same. Throughout high school, I spent most of my time in the pool – two hours before school, two hours after school. And even though I wasn't necessarily thinking about the Olympics at the time, I still wanted to work hard. I enjoyed working hard and getting better.
TPG: You took home one gold medal and two silvers in Beijing in 2008. Did that success make you change how you trained as you prepared for London?
SONI: Since Beijing, I've definitely been training really hard. I've been focusing on some different things in my training outside of the pool -- like yoga and Pilates -- and just finding different ways to stay active and athletic.
TPG: Your sister is also a swimmer. What was the sisterly competition like when you were growing up?
SONI: When we were younger we were definitely competitive. Luckily, we swam different events, and she has been so supportive of my Olympic journey. It's been so fun to share it with her and be able to talk to her about it and just have her be a part of it.
TPG: Tell me what it was like the moment you qualified for your first Olympics.
SONI: It was just a really exciting experience. I didn’t know what to expect the first time, and it's so much fun to be a part of Team USA -- and I ended up with a gold medal there, so that was an amazing experience.
TPG: Describe how it felt to win that first gold in 2008.
SONI: It was a surprise. I didn't think I was going to win a gold medal. I thought I was competing for silver, so I think that kind of helped me relax and swim the race. It was so amazing to be up there on the podium that first time, listening to the national anthem.
TPG: Now that you've captivated the world and earned three medals, two gold and one silver, in London, what are your goals for your swimming future?
SONI: Well, I've had a great time here in London, and that's all I'm really focusing on right now. It's been such a great Olympic experience all around -- everything from my two gold and one silver medals to my records and being able to share it with everyone back home.
TPG: Did you have time to explore London when you weren't in the pool? And how about Beijing?
SONI: I took a little time after Beijing -- I got to see the Great Wall -- and in London, I'm checking out the other sports and exploring a little bit. Just doing some of the touristy stuff along with watching the Games.
TPG: What was the coolest moment you experienced this year, besides obviously being able to hoist those gold medals in the air on the podium?
SONI: Swimming the relay (the 400 meter medley) with Missy Franklin, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt. It was the last night of Olympic swimming, and even before the race, we were just having such a great time together. It wasn't the usual stress and nervous tension before a race. We just felt so supportive of each other, and the friendship really carried through to a great swim and a great finish.
TPG: Your boyfriend, Ricky Berens, is also an Olympic swimmer, and you two have been getting plenty of attention. What has it been like having your relationship so public, and being asked questions about it all the time? And what has it been like being able to share this experience with him?
SONI: It's great to have my boyfriend here. He also won a silver and a gold medal. It's been really fun to share the experience with him, and to have him so close by. It's definitely been great to share this with him, and with my family and friends that came over to watch, too. It's really been a dream come true. It's been a great Olympics.
See Rebecca Soni featured in a new Kellogg's spot:
Man Without Legs Climbs Manitou Incline