U.S. Nationals: Lilly King Uses Underdog Mentality to Hold Off Kate Douglass in Women’s 200 Breaststroke

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. Nationals: Lilly King Edges Kate Douglass in Women’s 200 Breaststroke

With Kate Douglass coming off a stunning 100 freestyle win, she was the favorite in the 200 breaststroke after taking the top seed. But Lilly King proved why she is the queen of the breaststroke with a perfectly executed race that held off a late surge from Douglass in the last few meters.

King was out fast, as expected. her 31.51 on the first 50 was a second ahead of the field. Douglass hung with her and started making up ground and at the final turn was just four hundredths of a second behind.

With her longer stroke, Douglass gained ground the entire last 50, however King had just enough in the tank to close and finish in 2:20.95.

“I just had to stick to my guns on that one. I know when I have my best races, I get out front and try to hold it. That is what I tried to do and I finished well,” King said. “I knew she was there – she is always there. I just had to keep moving.”

Douglass took second in 2:21.22, an impressive swim on the heels of her 100 free title, something King new was coming.

“It is definitely motivating. Obviously people are talking about Kate, she is an amazing swimmer. But I don’t think I should feel like I am the underdog, but having that feeling in the back of my mind is always a good thing,” King said. “I like to feel like I have a chip on my shoulder, and that worked tonight.”

It was a classic showdown between two very different styles. King is very quick and has a shorter stroke, while Douglass has an extremely long stroke and gets more distance per stroke. King goes out fast and tries to hold on. Douglass goes out fast too, but her strength in this race is her closing. They were both on display as the pair nearly finished together at the touch.

It was the second-best time in King’s career.

“I was really happy with my swim. It was my second-fastest time of my career, but it was a full second slower than my fastest time,” King said. “That was a swim of a lifetime.”

The duo was well ahead of the rest of the field at U.S. Nationals.

Annie Lazor  took third in 2:25.86, followed by Kaitlyn Dobler (2:26.47), Anna Keating (2:26.71), Emma Weber (2:27.08), Isabelle Odgers (2:27.59) and Piper Enge (2:29.41).

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