UPDATE: Lilly King 200 Breast Disqualification Upheld by Jury of Appeal; Won’t Swim 200 Breast

Lilly King was disqualified in the 200 breast heats for a one-hand touch. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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World Swimming Championships (Lilly King)

Gwangju 2019

Day 5 Heats (Women’s 200 breaststroke)

UPDATE: USA’s Lilly King’s disqualification in the 200 breast was sent to a jury of appeal before Thursday’s finals session at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The jury maintained the disqualification, sources have told Swimming World.

King initially won her 200 breast heat on Thursday morning at the 2019 FINA World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. King swam a solid 2:24.56 but wound up disqualified, allegedly for a non-simultaneous touch on the first turn. USA Swimming lodged a formal protest for the disqualification but the DQ was solidified. King will not swim the 200 breast semifinal.

King was expected to renew her rivalry with Russia’s Yulia 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. South Africa’s Tatjana 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.

King was a popular gold medal selection in the 200 breast as she was looking to become the first man or woman to win the 50, 100 and 200 of any stroke at the same World Championships. She already won the 100 breast on Tuesday night in Korea for her second World title in the event. She was fourth in Budapest two years ago in the 200 breast and has the third fastest time in the world this year.


    • avatar

      Why is it “good” to watch someone who has worked so hard get DQ’d? Have some compassion.

    • avatar

      What does that possibly, sensibly, mean?

  1. Jacqui Farber

    2 hands….. Her touch is 2 hands, it’s REAL FAST, dont blink. But that’s what makes her the Champion. Hope they do right by her.

    • Jacqui Farber

      Also, look how the official is standing… he should be leaning over the gutter to see clearer, like official in lane 6

      • avatar

        so, they have an underwater camera that is there only for the benefit of the swimmer. If it was a fair turn, surely, surely they’d have called it as such – no?

    • Jacqui Farber exactly, and even when she turned there was no reaction from the judge. If there’s a problem you can see from the judge’s body language believe me.

    • Julie Caddy

      Jacqui Farber totally agree

  2. Louise Holden

    Both hands?!? Not Fingers Not sure, looks a light touch to me….if at all – may have been finger tips of one hand – not enough!!!

    • Sean Abbey

      Louise Holden finger tips are all that need to touch

    • Kristine Murphy Grim

      Louise Holden brush touch, totally legal. Judge can’t see it. ?

    • Louise Holden

      We aren’t close enough to see if simultaneously brushed. Respect the judge.

    • avatar

      What? Not enough?

    • Rob Robson

      Louise Holden it’s ambiguous on a phone screen. Close call.

    • Julie Caddy

      Judge wasn’t really looking

  3. Colleen Hazlett

    Looks like two hands. She’s really fast but there a slight hitch to the turn that would happen when dropping that left hand to turn.

  4. Melissa Duguay

    Rob Duguay.. what is happening to team USA over there?

  5. Alexander B Gallant

    She touched with both hands. The ref was inexperienced in judging breaststroke. When you approach the wall in breaststroke you touch with two hands and then push off with one hand not two hands,why? That’s how you turn into your stroke off the wall quickly, get you legs in position to push off the wall! Touch with two, push with one!

  6. Brett Davies

    She touched with both hands according to the video. A very bad call

  7. Shada Ziegler

    That is unfortunate…there were 2 hands on that turn, it was just a very very fast turn.

  8. Jaclyn Kile

    Stacy Skeen Kirkpatrick how sad!

    • Leonard Posa

      Janine Bcreations you cant really see it from here. They should have cameras over at the referees

    • Janine Bcreations

      Leonard Posa definitely especially with all the technology in today’s world. I screenshot the video from the article.

    • Meredith Roberts

      They have underwater cameras to confirm or overturn disqualifications.

    • J David Hillery

      Leonard Posa the cameras are under water. Timing is overhead. If the call is upheld by an underwater referee then the camera confirmed the call made by the deck official.

    • Nick Cittadino

      Janine Bcreations it’s impossible to tell from this angle. It does look like the official isn’t looking as far over the deck as she should be though.

    • Justin Sabourin

      When you post a screenshot and I can see her one hand leading the other. It’s not whether she touched with two hands it’s whether she did one after the other. I think it’s a good call. All of you calling out FINA on this is also so sad and pathetic. This gets called quite often. At Canadian Nationals our girl one with the best time in the world. Got DQ’d for the same thing. I can tell you she didn’t have a roar of fans complaining. She moved on and get the job done in her next event

    • Nick Cittadino

      Justin Sabourin just stop…if FINA could give us all a reason to STOP calling them out that would be great…

    • Dee Torr

      Nick Cittadino That was my point as well. Did she really have a good vantage view? That part is questionable.

      • avatar
        Jerry Tennison

        US swim official here – it’s much less about the official making the call than the video review process that upheld the call. Until you see that video, you can’t really intelligently comment on phone video from above where the view is degraded by disturbed water

  9. Dawn Price

    Yep she definitely turned with both hands !

  10. Bob Lange

    Tough call. At least it did not happen at the Olympic trials.

  11. Zoue Sefton

    Vanessa Sefton Rebekah Sefton

  12. Ricki Stein

    I see 2 hands, too. Why would someone feel they need to exert power/self-importance over that? Pathetic.

  13. avatar

    Politics at it’s worse Lily complained and Fina screwed her

  14. Gary Toner

    Not deserved FINA fails in so many levels

    • Mervyn Mayer

      Ang, they would have gone to the underwater cameras for the objection and maybe from that there was definite evidence. From the angle of the footage shown in this article there is no way people can be 100% sure she touched simultaneously. The judge must have had a clearer view overhead.

  15. John Dussliere

    This is part of the sport. Facebook Cowboys, you may dismount.

  16. Ann Belew O

    Wow! I saw two hands and then she dropped after she touched. Terrible call

  17. Tammy Lane Evans

    The question always goes to the swimmer… I saw two hands.. ?

  18. Suze Fila Couchon

    Shameful! What country does the official represent that mad the horrific call?!?!?!?! What a disgrace to allow the call to stand, with video confirming a LEGAL touch!!

  19. Eric Ye

    I saw two hands
    This is shame ?

    • Agatha Chan

      Eric Ye that’s very shame.

  20. Korinda Walls

    FINA is really doing a great job this year with their calls. WOW. ?‍♀️?‍♀️?‍♀️

  21. Alan Loya

    Seems like a personal revenge from FINA, based in the fact that Lilly has been against the corruption in this organization. FINA sucks! Especially because it protects a swimmer like Sun Yang.

    • John Trout

      I read about it on Facebook.

  22. Shawn Walsh

    Maybe this will humble her a bit or will she make a spectacle of it?

    • Shawn Walsh

      Greg Smart I hope that’s not referring to me, but she could easily make the best of this situation or go down a different path!

    • Nick Cittadino

      Shawn Walsh does she have a history of “making a spectacle” of things?

    • Sarah Sigeti Jahnke

      Stephanie Burruano Bruzgul this is so crazy. I see two also!

  23. Lori Antolick

    Absolute BS call. Lilly is a FIGHTER. That girl just refuses to lose. That was a simultaneous touch.

    • Mike McHenry

      Lori Antolick yeah…I want her in my Foxhole when the going gets tough. Ton of fight in her!

  24. Laurie J Marrical

    I saw 2 hands simultaneously touch the wall. Bad call.

  25. Patsy Patterson Martin

    Something is fishy. Looks like the world is out to get the American team. But we know an Olympics is coming up and we will be ready.

    • Patsy Patterson Martin I actually found there to be a lot of DQ’s in this competition. Including Danas Rapsys of Lithuania and I believe a Polish male swimmer whose name escapes me. If something fishy is going on then I don’t see how it’s aimed at only American athletes.

  26. Eric P Johnson

    Terrible call especially at such a high level meet

  27. Elaine Dawson

    This looks like a legal turn timed to perfection. Bad call from the officials!

  28. Dorene Bunnell

    OMG, I see both her hands hit the Wall. Bad call.

  29. Nick Cittadino

    Need underwater cameras with indisputable views for Tokyo. There’s better camera angles in minor league baseball parks…

  30. MK Mahoney

    Well that is too bad. This is turning into white a controversial meet.

  31. David Gong

    Boo! She clearly hit with both hands

  32. Steven Chung

    It’s getting from bad to worse for US Swimming

  33. Tracy Cameron Hepner

    Wow, that is a tough call. Looks to be a 2 hand touch. I think she was quick on the turn and they took advantage of it with their call.

  34. Robyn Lind

    I can’t believe this! Definitely a two hand touch ! Something fishy going on I believe! Stay positive Lily! USA ??

  35. Greg Smart

    Definitely she touched with both hands and was just very quick on the turn!! Very bad decision!! FINA come on pls improve for the rest of the Chapmionships

  36. Mervyn Mayer

    As an official myself, the benefit of the doubt always goes to the swimmer,that is how we were taught. Having said that, the judge was over the swimmer and had a better view from what i have seen so far. I have not seen any other footage other than what is shown in this article. Would be interesting to see footage from the top.

  37. Ronald Hehn

    Conspiracy theory: A Korean athlete sits in 16th…

  38. Jo Banham

    As a referee myself, if there is any doubt the benefit of doubt always goes to the swimmer. It’s easy to say from the footage she touched with both hands but the official was standing over the top so had a birds eye view. I saw the exact same thing at nationals one year, I was standing over the top and knew what I saw.

    • Mervyn Mayer

      exactly what i said. from the footage that is going around there is no way it can be said that it was 100% legal. The judge was standing over her and called it as is.

  39. Matt Jeffers

    This article says 1 hand touch, but she clearly touched with both hands in the video. I think the call is non-simultanous touch, left hand first. There is no way to tell for sure from that video. That official has a perfect line of sight. Tough break for Lilly.

  40. Lee N Sandy Beck

    Looked not only legal from the footage, but the reason for her being so quick. I’m sure it’s a touch and turn all swimmers would love to achieve! I also realize it’s probably hard to tell from above but like others have said “if there is any doubt it goes to the swimmer”. Not necessarily a fan of Lily King one way or the other but this is unfortunate.

  41. Jackie Sun

    This is a bullshit call! She clearly touched with 2 hands in the video. FINA sucks!!! ?

  42. Arianna Shwer

    It’s not like she was any quicker if it was only w one hand. She isn’t a rec swimmer- this is Olympic caliber- why wouldn’t she touch w two hands. . It’s clearly a two hand touch.

  43. JJ Smith

    Junk call

  44. Leigh Anne Zatlokowicz

    Looks like two hands to me her turn is so quick but on the video
    It looked like one hand on the wall and one under the water

  45. Ann M Cooper

    Strokes and Turns judges/Head Lane Timer’s head should be directly over the edge of the vertical wall of the pool. Does anyone say differently? Amazing that a Korean swimmer made the semi because of this DQ. Stated without prejudice.

  46. Sharon Rinaldi

    ? these kids work so unbelievably hard to get this far only to be DQ ‘d….??

  47. Michael Clemente

    The call wasn’t for a 1-hand touch. It was for a non-simultaneous touch. She touched with her fingertips on one hand and her palm on the other. The fingertips touched first, then the palm of the other hand. That is non-simultaneous.
    The demonstration for this is easy, hold your arms out straight and point your hands forward. Then raise your right hand up into the “stop” position. The fingertips of the left hand are further than the palm of the right.
    The call was correct.

    Now, with that being said, I feel she was targeted. They knew she touched that way. She has for years. The official calling it, was out of position and couldn’t have actually seen the infraction properly. The official knew that she would touch that way, and that if it went to replay, the replay would show exactly what she always does. Fingertips, palm.

  48. avatar

    love to see the underwater camera vid if they have it.

  49. Steffanie Garcia

    Poor Lily. Love her so much. Such an amazing role model <3

  50. Ken Kessler

    As an official myself both hands on the wall at the same time. Turn judge would have no idea as he is too far back to see the swimmers hands(afraid of getting wet?) he tried to lean over but still bad positioning – when did he make the call no evidence of call being made time of the turn. FINA being embarrassed by accepting juiced up athletes- targeting swimmers that are calling them out.