Swimming World Olympic Predictions: Women’s 100 Breast

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS

By Annie Grevers

Lilly King’s American record-crushing breaststroke performances at the 2016 NCAAs as well as her No. 1 world ranking by a half-second in the 100-meter breast (1:05.20) leave little room for doubt: she appears to be the future of American and, perhaps, world breaststroke.

Still, she’ll have plenty of competition in Rio. After an off year, Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte seems to have shifted into high gear, dropping beneath the 1:06 barrier once again.

Yuliya Efimova, who tested positive for a banned substance for the second time in her career this year, was added to the Russian roster in June, but later declared ineligible by the IOC in July. That should pave the way to the podium for Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson—the Texas A&M Aggie was fourth four years ago in London, third at last year’s Worlds and clocked 1:05.93 last November in Dubai.

And then there’s Katie Meili, who could give Team USA two medalists. Look for this to be a brawl, though, between the world’s two high-tempo queens, King and the defending Olympic champion, Meilutyte.

TALK ON DECK

  • Can Meilutyte return to her world record-setting ways? She hasn’t approached her 1:04.35 since she set the record three years ago. Her most recent times include a 1:05.64 (sf) at Kazan in 2015 and a 1:05.82 last March.
  • Can King continue her steep upward trajectory?
  • Both Meili and King have very little international experience. Meili competed at Pan-Ams last summer, but this will be both of their first times trying to put together a perfect race on the world stage. How will they handle Olympic-sized nerves?

PREDICTIONS
Gold: Lilly King, USA
Silver: Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania
Bronze: Alia Atkinson, Jamaica

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1 comment

  1. avatar
    Bill Bell

    Hope your right, Annie G., but at the Olympics experience is a big factor and King has little.
    But on the other hand King hasn’t faltered since joining Indiana last fall and has passed every test she’s had (BigTens, NCAAs, Olympic Trials) with more than flying colors.– so why should Rio be different?
    Meilutyte had minimal — at best — international competition experience before London and she won gold so hopefully Lilly can do the same.
    It took the Hoosiers’ greatest Olympian ( no NOT Bobby Knight!) two Games to get to the top of the heap but w/a ” little but o’luck Lilly can do,it in one!