Lilly King

Last updated
Lilly King
Lilly King after winning (27900745057).jpg
King in 2018
Personal information
National teamFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Born (1997-02-10) February 10, 1997 (age 22) [1]
Evansville, Indiana [1]
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Breaststroke
Club FJ Reitz High School Panthers
Evansville, Indiana
Newburgh Sea Creatures
Newburgh, Indiana
College team Indiana University

Lilly King (born February 10, 1997) [2] is an American swimmer. At the 2016 Summer Olympics she won the gold medal in the 100 meter breaststroke competition and also won a gold medal in the women's 4 × 100 m medley relay, in which she swam the breaststroke leg. She is the current world record holder in 100-metre and 50-metre breaststroke (long course).

Swimming (sport) water-based sport

Swimming is an individual or team sport that requires the use of one's entire body to move through water. The sport takes place in pools or open water. Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with varied distance events in butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and individual medley. In addition to these individual events, four swimmers can take part in either a freestyle or medley relay. A medley relay consists of four swimmers who will each swim a different stroke. The order for a medley relay is: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle. Swimming each stroke requires a set of specific techniques; in competition, there are distinct regulations concerning the acceptable form for each individual stroke. There are also regulations on what types of swimsuits, caps, jewelry and injury tape that are allowed at competitions. Although it is possible for competitive swimmers to incur several injuries from the sport, such as tendinitis in the shoulders or knees, there are also multiple health benefits associated with the sport.

2016 Summer Olympics Games of the XXXI Olympiad, held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016

The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and commonly known as Rio 2016, was an international multi-sport event that was held from 5 to 21 August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with preliminary events in some sports beginning on 3 August. These were the first Olympic Games ever to be held in South America and the second to be held in a developing country, after the 1968 games in Mexico City.

The women's 100 metre breaststroke event at the 2016 Summer Olympics took place on 7–8 August at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.


Early life

King was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana, the daughter of Mark and Ginny King. Mark ran track and cross-country at Indiana State University and Ginny swam for Eastern Kentucky University and Illinois State University. King's younger brother Alex is a walk-on swimmer at the University of Michigan. [3] King attended FJ Reitz High School, where the school's swim team shared Lloyd Pool with five other teams. [3] The lanes at Lloyd Pool were often crowded with swimmers below King's ability, so in order to help compensate, King added several morning practices a week with the local masters team and joined a competitive swim team called the Newburgh Sea Creatures. [3]

Evansville, Indiana City in Indiana, United States

Evansville is a city and the county seat of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, United States. The population was 117,429 at the 2010 census, making it the state's third-most populous city after Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, the largest city in Southern Indiana, and the 232nd-most populous city in the United States. It is the commercial, medical, and cultural hub of Southwestern Indiana and the Illinois-Indiana-Kentucky tri-state area, home to over 911,000 people. The 38th parallel crosses the north side of the city and is marked on Interstate 69.

Indiana State University Public university in Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

Indiana State University (ISU) is a public university in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was founded in 1865 and offers over 100 undergraduate majors and more than 75 graduate and professional programs. Indiana State is classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral/Research University.

Eastern Kentucky University Public university in Richmond, KY, USA

Eastern Kentucky University is a regional comprehensive university in Richmond, Kentucky. EKU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It maintains branch campuses in Corbin, Hazard, Lancaster, and Manchester and offers more than 40 online undergraduate and graduate options.



King attends Indiana University Bloomington, where she competes for the Indiana Hoosiers swimming and diving team. [2]

Indiana University Bloomington public research university located in Bloomington, Indiana,  United States (this is about the Bloomington campus, not the system of universities)

Indiana University Bloomington is a public research university in Bloomington, Indiana. It is the flagship institution of the Indiana University system and, with over 40,000 students, its largest university.

At the 2016 NCAA finals, her freshman year, she was crowned the NCAA Champion in the 100 yard breaststroke (56.85) and 200 yard breaststroke (2:03.59). The performance established King as one of the best short course yards breaststroke swimmers in history, setting the American, NCAA, NCAA Meet, U.S. Open, Indiana school, Big Ten, and Georgia Tech Pool records in winning the NCAA titles. [2] [4] That same freshman year she was named the Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, earned four All-America honors, First-Team All-Big Ten, and Big Ten Freshman of the Year. [2]

2016 Summer Olympic Games

At the 2016 US Olympic trials in Omaha, King won both the 100 meter breaststroke and the 200 meter breaststroke, qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

2016 United States Olympic Trials (swimming)

The 2016 USA Swimming Olympic Trials was held for the third straight quadrennial at CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska from June 26 to July 3, 2016. Those qualifying will compete for the United States in Swimming at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Omaha, Nebraska City in Nebraska, United States

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska and the county seat of Douglas County. Omaha is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 10 miles (15 km) north of the mouth of the Platte River. The nation's 40th-largest city, Omaha's 2018 estimated population was 466,061.

In the 100-meter breaststroke heats, King finished 1st with a time of 1:05.78 and qualified for the semifinals. There she again finished first with a time of 1:05.70. The next fastest swimmer was Yuliya Yefimova from Russia, the reigning world champion who had previously served a 16-month doping suspension for failing a 2013 drug test. Yefimova also failed a drug test in 2016, but with no research on how long the drug stayed in a person's system, she was not banned or given a suspension. [5] As King looked on from the ready room, where swimmers gather before they race, Yefimova won her semifinal and wagged her index finger. After posting the fastest time in the 100 m breaststroke semifinals, King expressed distaste. In a post-race interview with NBC, King said, "You wave your finger No. 1 and you’ve been caught drug cheating? I’m not a fan." [6] King went on to win the Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke, setting an Olympic record of 1:04.93 in the process. [7]

Yuliya Yefimova Russian swimmer

Yuliya Andreyevna Yefimova, also romanized Efimova; born 3 April 1992) is a Russian competitive swimmer. After making her Olympic debut in 2008, she went on to win the bronze medal in the 200 metres breaststroke in 2012, and silver medals in the 100 metres and 200 metres breaststroke in 2016. She is a five-time World Champion, winning the 50 metres breaststroke, the 100 metres breaststroke (2015), and the 200 metres breaststroke. She is also a former world record holder in the 50 metres breaststroke.

In the 200-meter breaststroke heats, King finished 15th with a time of 2:25.89 and qualified for the semifinals. She finished 7th in her semifinal with a time of 2:24.59. She did not qualify for the final. [8]

USA Today said King and Yefimova's rivalry "was heightened by the backstory, the international rivalry, and the high stakes of a final event. It was the Olympics at its very, very best." [9] Sporting News noted the two "joined the list of the hottest U.S.-Soviet/Russian head-to-heads in sports history." [10] As a result of her approach to the 2016 Olympic Games and her rivalry with Yefimova, King developed a reputation as being "friendly but fiery, with no filter and no apologies." [3] Some journalists criticized her treatment of Yefimova. [11] [12]

2017 World Championships

King at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. Budapest2017 fina world championships 100breaststroke final lilly king usa.jpg
King at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest.

At the 2017 US Nationals, the qualification meet for the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, King swept the breaststroke events. She won the 50-meter breaststroke with a time of 29.66, the 100-meter breaststroke with 1:04.95, and the 200-meter breaststroke with 2:21.83.

In her first event, King won the 100-meter breaststroke with a world record time of 1:04.13. [13] King's American teammate Katie Meili finished second and Yefimova touched third. The race was highly anticipated because Yefimova had nearly broken the former world record and mockingly wagged her finger during the semifinal. [14]


On September 11, 2018, the city of Evansville approved the new Deaconess Aquatic Center, which is to replace Lloyd Pool, within which the facility's competition pool is to be named in honor of King, who personally pushed for the project. [15]

Personal best times

50 m breaststroke (long course)29.40 Budapest July 30, 2017 WR
100 m breaststroke (long course)1:04.13BudapestJuly 25, 2017WR
200 m breaststroke (long course)2:21.83 Indianapolis June 28, 2017
100 yd breaststroke (short course)55.73 Austin, TX March 22, 2019WR
200 yd breaststroke (short course)2:02.60 Columbus, Ohio March 17, 2018WR

World records

WR 100 m (long course) Breaststroke 1:04.13 2017 World Aquatics Championships Budapest, Hungary25 July 201720 [16]
WR 50 m (long course) Breaststroke 29.40 2017 World Aquatics Championships Budapest, Hungary30 July 201720 [17]

See also

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  1. 1 2 "National Team Bios – Lilly King". USA Swimming . Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Lilly King Bio". Indiana Hoosiers. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Forde, Pat (8 August 2016). "Lilly King's improbable journey to the finger-wagging frontline of swimming's Cold War". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  4. Neidigh, Lauren (March 18, 2016). "Lilly King smashes 57 second barrier to set 100 breast American record". Swimswam. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  5. Rogers, Martin (August 8, 2016). "U.S. swimmer Lilly King calls out Russian drug cheat with strong words, finger wag". USA Today. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  6. Crouse, Karen (8 August 2016). "American Lilly King Makes Statement With Olympic Record in 100-Meter Breaststroke". New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  7. Woods, David (August 8, 2016). "Lilly King sets Olympic record in winning 100 breaststroke, Russian nemesis". Indianapolis Star.
  8. "Lilly King, Molly Hannis do not advance to 200m breaststroke final". August 11, 2016.
  9. Wilder, Charlotte (9 August 2016). "Lilly King's feisty rivalry with Yulia Efimova is the Olympics at its very best". USA Today. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  10. "U.S. vs. Russia: Lilly King-Yulia Efimova adds to history of heated rivalries". Sporting News. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  11. "In vilifying Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova, Americans are splashing murky waters". The Washington Post. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  12. "Efimova is a poor poster child for Russian scandal". Associated Press. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  13. "Lilly King Surges to 1:04.1 to Take Down 100 Breast World Record". SwimSwam. 2017-07-25. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  14. "King Gets The Last Laugh Over Efimova... For Now". SwimSwam. 2017-07-25. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  16. "17th FINA World Championships Women's 100m Breaststroke Final Results". 25 July 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  17. "17th FINA World Championships Women's 50m Breaststroke Final Results". 30 July 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
Preceded by

Rūta Meilutytė
Women's 50-meter breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)

July 30, 2017 – present
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Rūta Meilutytė
Women's 100-meter breaststroke
world record-holder (long course)

July 25, 2017 – present
Succeeded by