Disqualification Bounces Lilly King from 200 Breaststroke; Sydney Pickrem Paces Field

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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World Swimming Championships (Lilly King)

Gwangju 2019

Day 5 Heats (Women’s 200 breaststroke)

Over the past year, the United States’ Lilly King has significantly improved her ability over the 200 breaststroke, to the point where she entered the World Championships as a medal contender. However, a disqualification in the preliminary heats will prevent King from showing whether her skill over four laps is on par with what she can do in the 100 breast. After touching the wall behind South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker, King looked to the scoreboard and saw a “DQ” next to her name. Word is King was disqualified for a one-hand touch on the first turn.

King was expected to renew her rivalry with Russia’s Yuliya Efimova in the 200 breast, as the women went gold-silver earlier in the meet in the 100 breast. But King’s disqualification will put the next chapter in that duel on hold until the 50 breaststroke. While King met a difficult fate, Canada’s Sydney Pickrem earned the top seed for the semifinals, thanks to a prelim time of 2:24.53. Schoenmaker was second-fastest, going 2:24.66. Pickrem has enjoyed a few idle days after opening the competition with a bronze medal in the 200 individual medley.

South Africa also received a strong showing from Kaylene Corbett, who qualified third in 2:24.83, ahead of the 2:24.93 of Switzerland’s Lisa Mamie and the matching 2:25.01 marks posted by Efimova and Canada’s Kelsey Wog. The top eight was rounded out by Belgium’s Fanny Lecluyse (2:25.05) and Great Britain’s Molly Renshaw and American Micah Sumrall, who each went 2:25.17. China’s Ye Shiwen was 10th in 2:25.41.


1. Sydney Pickrem, Canada 2:24.53
2. Tatjana Schoenmaker, South Africa 2:24.66
3. Kaylene Corbett, South Africa 2:24.83
4. Lisa Mamie, Switzerland 2:24.93
5. Yuliya Efimova, Russia 2:25.01
5. Kelsey Wog, Canada 2:25.01
7. Fanny Lecluyse, Belgium 2:25.05
8. Molly Renshaw, Great Britain 2:25.17
8. Micah Sumrall, United States 2:25.17
10. Ye Shiwen, China 2:25.41
11. Reona Aoki, Japan 2:25.93
12. Mariia Temnikova, Russia 2:25.98
13. Jessica Vall Montero, Spain 2:26.04
14. Victoria Kaminskaya, Portugal 2:26.06
15. Jenna Strauch, Australia 2:26.25
16. Back Suyeon, Korea 2:26.56


    • Leonel Reyes

      Katie McNerney yes, read the rules

    • Katie McNerney

      Leonel Reyes I know the rules, thanks for your needless remark. Not expecting a one hand touch at this level.

    • Barbara Skelton

      Katie McNerney they will surely appeal….let’s see the end result….hopeful for her

    • Scott Montgomery

      Katie McNerney I wanted to reply but I think I am getting your view. You’re not questioning the rules you’re questioning the athlete, correct? Meaning that the mistake shouldn’t happen by the athlete at this level not meaning the rules shouldn’t be enforced at this level?

    • Shindig Smith

      Curious if they replayed the one hand touch? Some swimmer’s do a 2 hand touch and immediately “swipe” one hand out to finish the heat. It appears to be a one hand touch to an official..?

    • Katie McNerney

      Scott Montgomery yes, to all of it. It’s not a common call to hear with these athletes. Shaking my head that an athlete would do that at this level, And hope it was the right call by the official.

    • Barbara Skelton

      Katie McNerney it is also hard to call as the water is choppy and hard for a TO to see clearly….will be interesting to see the end result in an hours times….if appealed

    • Jana Ellis Vincent

      Katie McNerney it’s not intentional. The reflexes are so fast on the part of the swimmer at this level that they ‘know’ when their hands will hit the wall anticipating the beginning of the turn. They’ve done fast turns a gazillion times and it’s so automatic and burned into their reflexes exactly how it’s supposed to ‘feel’. She probably literally missed one hand by centimeters as she began her turn …..it happens to the best of them.

    • Katie McNerney

      Jana Ellis Vincent I don’t disagree. 1. If it happened I’m very surprised 2. It better have been Very obvious for the official to call it, because it is supposed to go in favor of the athlete if they are unsure. Again it isn’t called often so I’m curious about how it happened from all sides of the situation.

    • Barbara Skelton

      Katie McNerney they will have overhead camera’s to assist with any appeal process…..as it is hard to video this from the stands etc..it must be directly above to call it

    • Melanie Hinson

      @Katie #preach
      She swims it often enough to swim it in her sleep. She thought she could do a one handed touch fast enough to not get caught.

  1. Ab Ramirez

    Just when the American team needed one more disappointing issue. This meet have had so many setbacks for the team

    • Dee Torr

      Ab Ramirez It’s definitely been a wacky meet.

    • Ab Ramirez

      Dee Torr though this Thursday finals session looks good for the U.S. to redeem a bit, but given how things have gone I don’t have high expectations, more upsets can come

  2. Debbie Justin Florence

    How can an athlete of her caliber do a one hand touch? It’s something you see in age group swimming……10- U

    • Blake Braden

      Debbie Justin Florence mental error. Not the first, won’t be the last. I’ve seen it at the collegiate level before. Both arms were going for the wall. Could just have been a situation where she pulled her rotation arm too early. No need to be judgemental. How do professional golfers still duff a ball? How do NBA players still travel? Mental errors in every game. I’ll give her the benefit of doubt before I have all the information.

    • Dee Torr

      Barbara Skelton as it should.

    • Dee Torr

      Also, does it appear that this official has a good enough sight line to make that call accurately?

    • Steven Rose

      Dee Torr literally over top? I would say that’s pretty ideal.

  3. Dee Torr

    I don’t believe it was a one handed touch. I think she was so quick that the official just missed it! Her turns are freaky fast!

  4. Scott Montgomery

    Anywhere to shave time! One handed turn is faster, just don’t get caught. I remember the dolphin kick on my IM and breaststroke turns, before they were legalized, pre-2004. Don’t get caught!

    • Scott Montgomery

      Debbie Justin Florence to each their own. Most athletes will risk it many times during their career. If you cheat just be prepared to accept the fate (not saying she deliberately turned one handed, I think it was a botched call but who knows). My career is long over but I was around for the birth of the body suits, obviously before the legalized dolphin kick and many other DQr’s. I knew what my options were and the consequences of some of those options. I remember one of my HS state finals when my coach rubbed me down with icy hot, little known trick up the sleeve. My most memorable and terrifying DQ was our league championships medley relay my Junior year of HS. Pulled a 25.02 breaststroke split to put us back in front of the pack and our last legs held the lead. Only to be DQd for wearing a damn necklace. Was illegal in our league. Something so natural when you wear it daily that one day you forget to remove it. That one stung because we had broken the league record and it didn’t count. My fault 100% but unintentional and it wasn’t a cheat to help speed or score. That’s the worst part….. ugh. Remember it like yesterday.

  5. Oren Bennett

    How can she not two-hand touch at this level of competition?

  6. Cindy Ault Kittrell

    Oh well, it happens. There’s always another race at another meet. ??

  7. Melanie Hinson

    Her head was getting a little to big. She needed that setback to humble herself.

    • Melanie Hinson

      I don’t know her. I’m just disappointed with how some of the swimmers are representing themselves right now. I feel they should worry about themselves and leave the politics to FINA.

    • Christine Shuttz-Raches

      Melanie Hinson the politics impact them. They should absolutely voice their displeasure.

    • Melanie Hinson

      Unfortunately, my daughter is bi-racial and does not share the same luxury as most. She’s had a lot of unfair things happen to her in the last 5 years at the pool.

      She was also blatantly discriminated against when she was 7. Can you imagine explaining to your 7 yr old at a swim meet why she was told to stand up and leave a baby pool where she was quietly sitting, only to turn around to see little white girls in that same pool next to the person that told her to get out because there was not a lifeguard watching the 12” deep pool?

      Can you imagine telling your child, “no matter how sad you are after a race, you go straight to the bathroom and then cry. “

      The greatest compliment I’ve received thus far, “I’ve watched your daughter over the years and no matter when or lose, she carries herself with class.”

      If my 11 yr old can maintain her composure and keep her opinions to herself on deck, I expect the same of the members of our national team.

      She’s not the USA swimming police.

      She’s a sponsored swimmer.

      If someone is suspected of doping, that is not her place to call them out on deck.

      What message does that type of behavior send to the children buying the brands that sponsor her?

  8. Wendy Walker

    School boy error, don’t believe it. One handed touch at this level……

  9. Dorene Bunnell

    I watched it and she totally touched with both hands. Bad call.