Evansville’s Lilly King completed a sweep of the breaststroke events on Friday with a dominating victory in her signature distance of 100 meters at the Phillips 66 Nationals at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis..
The Indiana University sophomore and two-time Olympic gold medalist swam 1:04.95. While she didn’t beat the world record of 1:04.35 held by Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte, she crushed the qualifying time she posted (1:06.06) earlier Friday.
Still, the time wasn’t even a personal record for King. It was actually a pinch slower than her Olympic record time of 1:04.93 she swam in Rio de Janeiro last summer.
It’s also only second fastest in the world for 2017, just off the pace set by her Russian rival Yulia Efimova (1:04.82). King’s time, however, did set a new meet record at the USA Swimming world qualifier and further established her as one of the world’s best.
She was asked afterward how she likes being one of the faces of USA Swimming.
“It’s really neat because about a year ago nobody knew who I was,” said King, a Reitz High graduate. “It’s great. I kind of love being one of the faces (of USA Swimming). I love having more pressure on me.”
King, who is scheduled to compete in the 200 individual medley on Saturday, won the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke races in dazzling fashion. She won the 50 on Thursday by setting a new American record of 29.60. That’s just 0.12 hundredths of a second off Meilutyte’s world record in the 50 but it’s the fastest time of 2017 by 0.22 over Efimova.
On Wednesday King won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:21.83. Efimova has the fastest time in the 200 this year of 2:19.11.
The two rivals again will square off in Budapest next month.
King said she always has world records “in the back of my mind to push me.”
The 200 IM finals are scheduled for 5:36 p.m. CT Saturday.