2019 FINA World Championships Predictions: Lilly King Going For Repeat in Women’s 50 Breast

Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

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USA’s Lilly King has a chance to win all three breaststroke events at the 2019 FINA World Championships. She has the top time entering the meet in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and is also the favorite to win the 50. Since the 50 strokes were added to the Worlds lineup in 2001, no man or woman has ever won all three stroke distances from the 50 to the 200. King’s biggest challenge will be winning the 200 breast.

King is the reigning world champion and world record holder. She broke the world record in Budapest as she also won the 100 and was fourth in the 200 at those Worlds. King has the top time in the world this year with a 29.63. Russia’s Yuliya Efimova (29.93) has the second-fastest time in the world and has won this event twice at World Championships, taking the gold in 2009 and in 2013. She also won a silver in 2011 and in 2017 as well as a bronze in 2015.

The 50 breast is on the last night of competition, which is about an hour before the 4×100 medley relay final. Efimova and King will have the relay in the back of their minds here since their countries will be medal favorites. It is only a 50, which is basically a warmup for these swimmers.

Third on the entry lists is Italy’s Benedetta Pilato. She already swam at the European Juniors earlier this month and won the gold by over a second at 30.16. If she can replicate that swim in Korea then she will be looking good for a medal in her first World Championships. But Pilato is only 14 years old so how will she swim on the big stage?

Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson is the veteran here. She did not swim this event in Budapest but did win the silver in 2015. Atkinson is approaching her 31st birthday in December and is still swimming at a world-class level. She has the experience that not a lot of swimmers have and she has a chance to reach the podium.

Italy’s Martina Carraro is another medal favorite. The 26-year-old has swam her five best times this year and is looking to win her first medal on the world stage. She was a 30.70 at Europeans last year.

The Americans do not have a second option in this event with only King repping the stars and stripes. Katie Meili was originally going to swim the 50 and 100 breast but pulled out of the meet and gave up her spot to Micah Sumrall, who elected not to swim the 50. Meili has since retired.

Finland’s Ida Hulkko, who just finished her freshman year at Florida State, is also a medal favorite. Her best time this year is a 30.66 and if she can win a medal, then she will be the first Finnish woman swimmer to win a medal at Worlds since Hanna-Maria Seppala won the 100 free in 2003.

Current Records:

World Record: 29.40, Lilly King, USA – 2017
Championships Record: 29.40, Lilly King, USA – 2017
American Record: 29.40, Lilly King – 2017

2017 World Champion: Lilly King, USA – 29.40
2018 Fastest Time: Lilly King, USA – 29.62 (Santa Clara)
2019 Fastest Times:

  1. 29.63, Lilly King, USA
  2. 29.93, Yulia Efimova, RUS
  3. 30.13, Benedetta Pilato, ITA
  4. 30.45, Martina Carraro, ITA
  5. 30.58, Alia Atkinson, JAM
  6. 30.61, Alina Zmushka, BLR
  7. 30.66, Ida Hulkko, FIN
  8. 30.81, Anna Belousova, RUS

Swimming World’s team of Andy RossDan D’AddonaDavid RiederDiana Pimer and Taylor Covington will be selecting their choices for the medals at World Championships in each event. Read below who everybody picked.

Andy’s Picks:

  1. Lilly King
  2. Yulia Efimova
  3. Alia Atkinson

Dan’s Picks:

  1. Lilly King
  2. Yulia Efimova
  3. Benedetta Pilato

David’s Picks:

  1. Lilly King
  2. Yulia Efimova
  3. Benedetta Pilato

Diana’s Picks:

  1. Lilly King
  2. Yulia Efimova
  3. Benedetta Pilato

Taylor’s Picks:

  1. Yulia Efimova
  2. Lilly King
  3. Benedetta Pilato

2019 FINA World Championships Predictions:

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1 comment

  1. avatar
    Tall And Wet

    I’ll be surprised that King has any breath left to compete after doing all these political statements…