I’ve always been curious to find out what an Olympic swimmer does after competing in two Olympics and winning gold in both. Olympian and South Bay resident Rebecca Soni was kind enough to sit down with me and share a little bit about her life since winning Olympic gold in the summer of 2012.

For those who watch the summer Olympics religiously like me, the swimming events are usually a highlight of the games. Rebecca won gold in 2008 in the 200-meter breaststroke and defended her gold in 2012, as well as taking silver in the 100-meter and gold in the 4X100 meter relay.

Staying active seems to be at the core of who she is, but I really wanted to know what she does and where she goes in her leisure time. “Downtown Manhattan Beach is a great spot, so many great restaurants and shops. Some of my favorite places are MB Post, Petros, Two Guns Espresso and Nekter Juice Bar,” she said.

She’s had a busy year since last summer, and I found out what she’s been up to since then.

Teri: I know I’m not alone when I tell you I was glued to the television watching your every move during the 2012 Summer Olympics. It was so thrilling and I’m sure you’ve had a lot going on since then, tell us a little about what you’ve been up to lately.

Rebecca: It’s been a really exciting year! I’ve gotten to do so much since London, including traveling, going to visit my family in Arizona, Texas, and even Hungary and Romania. I went to Guatemala as part of an observation trip with Girl Up, the UN campaign aiming to improve the lives of girls around the world. I’m also taking some online courses in nutrition and psychology, along with becoming a certified pilates trainer. I’m just taking the time to enjoy life outside the pool, and enjoy the South Bay.

After finishing your undergrad at USC, was there any question that you would stay on the West Coast, and what do you love most about living in the beach cities?

I love being close to the beach, and still being able to escape to the mountains. I really love the vibe here, especially such an emphasis on fitness and good health.

We’re so lucky to have someone like you teaching locally at RockIt Body Pilates, tell us about the classes there and how pilates can benefit someone that isn’t an Olympic athlete.

Starting Sept. 24, I will be teaching two classes at the Redondo RockIt Body Pilates on Tuesdays at 6 a.m. (all levels) and 7 a.m. (straps). I’m very excited. I started taking pilates a couple years ago as a way to improve my strength and also to counter my training in the pool. Pilates classes are so much fun, super high energy, and great for anybody. I love that the more you do it, the better you get! I think everyone, whether you are an athlete or not, can really enjoy the classes, and see results too. It’s a great workout, and combines lengthening muscles, strengthening, flexibly and cardio. Everyone come on out on Tuesday mornings and we’ll work it out together!

What other types of things do you do to stay fit when you’re taking a break from swimming or nursing an injury and may not be in the pool as much?

Staying active is a huge part of my life, especially when I’m not training. I can’t resist all the perks of living in such a beautiful place. From taking long walks with my dog, Kody, to spending fun time at the beach. I also do a lot of yoga and spinning, as well as hiking, beach volleyball, and of course, a little swimming too.

Obviously you are conscious of what you eat, but what’s your one guilty pleasure you allow yourself?

I love the Acai bowls at Paradise Bowls in Manhattan Beach, such a treat!

I have to ask about you about 2016 Summer Olympics; have you decided to go for it again?

At the moment, I’m focusing on things away from the pool, but you never know.

I know you’re active on social media, where can we follow you?

Yes, I’m active on Twitter and love hearing from fans around the world. My twitter handle is @rebsoni. You can also find out more about what I have going on at my website, www.rebsoni.com.

Lastly, what’s the most fun thing you’ve done this summer?

Stand-up paddleboarding out by Hermosa Pier on the Fourth of July with a pack of dolphins!

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