US Olympic champion swimmer Rebecca Soni retires

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Six-time Olympic medalist Rebecca Soni retired from swimming Thursday.

The 26-year-old American plans to launch a new lifestyle company and blog instead of making an attempt at her third Olympics.

Soni took an extended break after the London Games, but left open the possibility of returning to the pool. Finally, with about 2 1-2 years to go until the 2016 Olympics, she decided to retire.

"I know I've conquered my goals in the pool, and now it's time to conquer something else," she said.

Soni won the 200-meter breaststroke at the last two Olympics while taking back-to-back silvers in the 100 breast. She also was part of medley relay teams that won gold in Beijing and the silver in London.

She is best known for becoming the first woman to break 2 minutes, 20 seconds in the 200 breast. At the London Olympics, Soni set a world record with a time of 2:19.59, a mark that was broken at last year's world championships by Rikke Pedersen of Denmark.

"Achieving my dream of going below 2 minutes and 20 seconds in the 200m breaststroke really put the storybook ending on my career," Soni said.

She will launch her new company, The Atlas Ventures, in the spring in partnership with another U.S. swimmer, Ariana Kukors.

"I want to do my best to inspire the next generation and to share some of the things I've learned," Soni said.