Lilly King

View Current photo via Courtesy of Jack Spitser

Lily King is a competitive USA swimmer who specializes in breaststroke. King was undefeated in the 100 Breast (meters & yards) in every format from 2016 to 2021. She is a 2x Olympian and an Olympic and world champion.

The self proclaimed Mcdonalds enthusiast comes from a sporting family. Her father, Mark was a track and cross country runner at Indiana State and her mother Ginny swam for Eastern Kentucky University and Illinois State University.

At 17-years-old, King finished sixth at the 2014 US Nationals and earned her first call up for the national team. She continued to climb the breaststroke ranks and burst on to the collegiate scene as a freshman at Indiana University.

High School

King has been on the USA swimming radar since a freshman at FJ Reitz High School and a member of Newburgh Sea Creatures. She won her first junior national title in the 100-yard breaststroke age 16 at the US Winter Junior Nationals. Her time of 59.67 was a new National Age Group record.

2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships

After finishing 6th at the US nationals, King put on the Team USA uniform for the first time in her career at the Junior Pan Pacs. Her first international medal came in her signature event, 100-meter breaststroke. She took gold in a new meet record of 1:07.98. King and her USA teammates picked up another gold in the 4×100-meter medley relay in another meet record.

2015 World University Games

King took silver at US nationals, placing her on the National Team for a second consecutive year. Prior to her first semester on Indiana University campus, King competed at the World University Games. In South Korea, she picked up silver in the 100-meter breaststroke and bronze in the 4×100 medley relay. King also raced in 50-meter breaststroke, finishing 8th in the final.

College (Indiana)

Staying close to home, King began her collegiate career in her home state of Indiana as a Hoosier.


King stunned the collegiate swimming world at her first NCAA appearance. In the 100-yard breaststroke, she dived under the 57 second mark for the first time in history. Having already broken the NCAA, American and US Open records with a 57.15 in the prelims, she came back even faster in the finals to take the title in 56.85.

Her 200-yard breaststroke was nothing short of amazing either, as she sent records flying again. King managed to sweep all the 200 yard breaststroke records by almost half a second. She took gold almost three seconds ahead of her Hoosier teammate in 2nd.


King won the 100 breaststroke setting a Meet Record in the finals with a time of 56.71. She finished almost 1.5 seconds ahead of the second place competitor, Lindsey Horejsi. She helped Indian swim to a fifth place finish in the 4×100 Medley Relay, splitting a 56.17 on the breaststroke. In the 4×50 Medley Relay, King clocked a 25.62 on the breaststroke leg to help Indian to a fourth place finish. In the 200 Breast, King once again stood on top if the medal stand, setting NCAA, Meet, American, US Open and Pool Records with a time of 2:03.18.


In Columbus, King claimed the title in both breaststroke events and finished 14th in the 200 IM. She went best times in all three events and broke the American Records in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. In the 100 breaststroke, she went a 56.25 and won the event by more than a second and a half. On Saturday, she became the first woman to break 2:03 in the 200 breaststroke as she finished with a time of 2:02.60. She was also key player in both of the medley relays. Indiana placed second in the 400 medley relay and third in the 200 medley relay respectively.


After dropping the fastest 100 yard breaststroke on a relay split in history at her last B1G Championships, Indiana senior Lilly King fulfilled the prophecy with a new NCAA, U.S. Open, and American Record in Friday’s event final. Her time of 55.88 was the new fastest-ever in the event, breaking her own record of 56.25 set at the 2018 NCAAs.

Removing reaction times, King’s individual swim was even better than her relay split by an off-the-blocks margin of .28 seconds.

Comparative Splits, fastest 100 breaststrokes in history.

  • King – 2019 Big Tens – 26.11/29.77 = 55.88
  • King – 2018 NCAAs – 26.32/29.93 = 56.25

King improved both her front-half and her back-half in the new record-setting swim by similar margins. She managed to drop time from Big Tens to NCAAs in this event in 2 of the previous 3 seasons.

King made a clean sweep of 8-for-8 in the breaststroke titles with her last 2 swims at the 2019 NCAA Championships, 4-peating in both the 100 (55.73) and the 200 (2:02.90) breaststroke, clocking the fastest time in history in the 100. She also helped IU’s medley relays to 2nd (400 medley) and 4th (200) place finishes.

International Competition

2016 US Olympic Trials

King continued her explosive rise to the top by winning the 100M Breaststroke and becoming another first time Olympian. Her time of 1:05.20 puts her among the top in the World  this year and surely makes her a true contender for gold.

King added the 200m Breaststroke to her Olympic swims by winning the event with a time of 2:24.08, just .31 seconds ahead of second place finisher, Molly Hannis, another first time Olympian.

Olympic Medals – Katie Meili, Lilly King – 2016 Olympic Games in Rio -courtesy of simone castrovillari

2016 Rio Olympics

The 19 year old made a bold statement in the semifinals of the 100M Breaststroke to take top seed for the finals just two hundredths of a second over Russian Yulia Efimova.

Gold Medal swim in the women’s 100M Breaststroke by Lilly King, breaking the Olympic Record with a time of 1:04.93. She finished 63 one hundredths of a second ahead of second place finisher Yulia Efimova of Russia and 76one hundredths ahead of fellow American and bronze medal winner, Katie Meili.

2017 US World Team Trials

King won the 20om breast (2:21.83) just beating second place finisher Bethany Galat. King also won the 50m Breast setting a new US Open Record and LC National Meet Record with a time of 29.66. King then made it a breaststroke sweep, winning the 100m finals with a time of 1:04.95 setting a new meet record in the process. King will represent the US in all three events at the World Championships in Budapest later this summer.

Lilly King 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

2017 World Championships

Day three of competition brought the highly anticipated showdown between King and Yuliya Efimova in the women’s 100 breaststroke, and it did not disappoint the crowd. King was out like a light, splitting 29.80 at the 50, and she surged through the 2nd 50 with the fastest back half of the field, splitting a 34.33 to clip the World Record with a 1:04.13. The former record stood at a 1:04.35 done by Ruta Meilutyte in 2009.

King’s 100 Breast World Record Splits:

  • 1st 50 Split- 29.80
  • 2nd 50 Split- 34.33
  • Final Time- 1:04.13

Day four King picked up another relay gold medal and World Record when she combined with Caeleb Dressel, Matt Grevers and Simone Manuel in the 4×100 mixed medley relay.  She split 1:04.15. Remarkably, King held her ground despite being the only female breaststroke leg in the field.

Day seven in the semi-final of the 50m breaststroke King broke the American record by .06, swimming a 29.60.

Day eight in the final of the 50m breaststroke King shaves more time, setting a new World Record, 29.40, and topping . Yulia Efimova for the gold. Efimova took the silver in 29.57. Katie Meili won bronze in 29.99.

Lilly King 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)

Day eight in the final of the 4×100 medley relay, Team USA’s Lilly King, Kathleen Baker, Kelsi Worrell, and Simone Manuel teamed up to set a World Record. Baker got the ball rolling on the backstroke split with a personal best 58.54 on the backstroke leg, marking the 5th fastest 100 back ever done by an American. King (1:04.48) kept it close as she battled once again down the stretch with Russia’s Yuliya Efimova (1:04.03), but the Russians took the lead through the halfway mark. On the fly leg, Worrell pulled the USA into the lead with her 56.30, making way for 100 free champ Manuel (52.23) to finish things off as they finished in 3:51.55. That took a half second off the former World Record, which stood as a 3:52.05 done by the USA in 2012.


2018 U.S. National Championships

King won the 50 breaststroke (29.82) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.36) titles at the Phillips 66 National Championships, while placing 5th in the 200 breast. Notably, King admitted that she had been putting in hard training before this meet, and was planning on saving her full rest for the Pan Pac championships.

2018 Pan Pacific Championships

On Day 1 of pan pacs, Lilly King came out strong, securing a victory in the 100 breast with a time of 1:05.44. On day 4, King earned a pair of silvers, first touching 2nd in the 200 breast in a time of 2:22.12. She finished off her pan pacs performance with a silver in the women’s 4×100 medley relay, swimming breaststroke for USA in a time of 1:04.86.

ISL – Cali Condors

On June 11, 2019, Lilly King was announced as a member of the Cali Condors ISL team, headed by GM Jason Lezak. As a member of the Cali Condors in season 1 of the ISL, King went undefeated in all breaststroke events (50, 100, 200) as well as a part of the 400 medley relay.

2019 World Championships

King successfully defended her world title in the 100 breast, touching 1st in a time of 1:04.93, over half a second ahead of 2nd place Yulia Efimova. Lilly was out first at the 50, and off the turn Yulia was gaining a lot of ground on King, but over the final 15 meters King pulled away for the victory.

The next night, King swam on the 4×100 mixed medley relay, splitting 1:04.94 to help Team USA get 2nd behind Australia by .02.

After being DQ’ed in the prelims of the 200 breast, King was back in the 50 breast on the last day of competition, successfully defending her world title in a time of 29.84. King finished her schedule in the 4×100 medley relay, splitting 1:04.81 to help USA to break their own world record and earn gold.

2020 ISL Budapest Bubble

No woman in the International Swimming League (ISL) was more dominant than Lilly King. Though 2 of King’s 3-event win streaks were snapped during the 2020 ISL season, she was still the most successful individual performer in the first two years of the league with a total of 31 individual victories and only 3 individual losses.

50 Breast 8 2
100 Breast 10 0
200 Breast 9 1
50 Skins* 4 0

*This counts for the final heat of the skins races only and not the 1st and 2nd qualification rounds in which the top-4 and top-2 swimmers advance.

King was undefeated in all three breaststroke races during the 2019 ISL season and remained undefeated in 2020 in the 100 breast. Non-freestyle skins were introduced to the ISL lineup in 2020 and depending on the winner of the 400 medley relay they are not always breaststroke. However, every time King had the opportunity to compete in the 50 breaststroke skins competition she won the all-important 3rd and final heat.

King finished the ISL season ranked 2nd among all swimmers in the MVP standings and left Budapest with $254,000 of prize money, 2nd only to Caeleb Dressel. King was named the MVP of Match 1, the 2nd MVP of 8, the 3rd MVP of Match Semifinal #2, and the 2nd MVP again of the Grand Final.

Further illustrating her sheer domination in breaststroke, King finished the season with a total of 102.5 jackpot points, the 3rd-highest in the league behind Dressel and LA’s Ryan Murphy.

2020 Swammy Awards

For her accomplishments in the ISL, Lilly King earned the 2020 Swammy Award for US Female of the Year.

2021 US Olympic Trials

On night 3 in Omaha, after posting the #1 time in the world in semi-finals, Lilly King roared to victory in the 100 breast, touching first at 1:04.79 to qualify for her 2nd Olympic team. On day 6 of the meet, King finished 2nd in the 200 breast to her teammate Annie Lazor, giving her a 2nd event in Tokyo.

2020 Olympic Games

King started her Games off strong, moving through the prelims and semis of the 100 breast. In the final, King touched 3rd overall, earning bronze behind her teammate Lydia Jacoby, who touched first for gold.

King was back in the 200 breast, moving through the prelims and semis easily to make the final. King was out like a shot in the final, swimming ahead of the world record line and South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker until the last 50, ultimately touching 2nd in a huge personal best of 2:19.92. to earn silver.

King finished her Games in the prelims of the 400 medley relay, splitting 1:05.51 to help USA advance to the final, where they would go on to win silver.

2022 World Championships

After qualifying for all 3 breaststroke events at the 2022 World Champ Trials, King surprisingly finished 4th in the 100 breast final in Budapest, only .05 away from a medal. It was later revealed that King had suffered a case of COVID-19 just days before the US training camp in Croatia.

However, it didn’t take King long to bounce back from her 4th place finish. In the 200 breast, she moved through prelims and semis strongly, and in finals used her patented “first 50-last 50” race strategy to pull ahead of the field on the final 50 meters and touch first in 2:22.41. This not only marked King’s first world title in this event but also made her the first US woman to have won world titles in the 50-100-200 of any stroke.

2022 Short Course World Championships

In Melbourne, King won a hat trick of medals in individual breaststroke, taking gold in the 100, silver in the 200, and bronze in the 50. She also helped USA to gold in the 4×100 medley relay and silver in the 4×50 medley relay.

2023 U.S. International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

In the prelims of the 200 breast, Kate Douglass got the better of King. King’s relaxed morning swim of 2:25.81 was good enough for 2nd. In the final, she swam the 2nd fastest time of her career to top Douglass by .27 with a 2:20.95. In classic King style, she blasted out with a 31.51 first 50. 

As was to be expected, King led the prelims of the 50 breast with a 30.26. In the finals, the touted Jacoby-King battle lived up to the hype as they battled down the stretch with King edging Jacoby by just .04 with a 29.77 season-best that ranks her 2nd in the world.

In the 100 breast prelims, King faced a major challenger in the form of Kaitlyn Dobler who took the top seed with a best 1:05.86 to King’s 1:05.95. Jacoby sat back at 3rd with a 1:06.69. In an uncharacteristic finals swim, King was 3rd at the 100 behind Dobler and a hair back from Jacoby but was able to power through with the fastest back 50 of the field to fly home to a 1:04.75 for 1st. The time leads the world and is King’s fastest since Olympic Trials in 2021.

2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)

In the 100 breast, King was solid through prelims and semis with a 1:05.93 and a 1:05.45 to qualify near the top. When it came to the final, King took things out way faster than prelims or semis and payed down the stretch with a 35.41 coming home where she had been 34.41 in semis. Her 1:06.02 put her just off the podium in 4th. 

In the 200 breast, it was near mirrored. In prelims she was again 4th (2:23.68) with a strong final 50. In semis she was a little better with a 2:22.68, nearly leading the field with her final 50. In the final, king ended up 4th again with a 2:22.25 as she went out quicker than prelims or semis and paid the precise down the stretch. 

King’s final individual event was the 50 breast. She was solid in prelims with a 30.05 and better in semis with a 29.72. In the final, King was a bit off with a 29.94 but besides Meilutyte, so was the rest of the final and King took silver. In the 400 Medley, King came through with a 1:04.93 to take the gap between the US and Australia from .23 to 2.37 seconds with a huge 1:04.93 split. The rest of the squad held the lead and the US women got their first and last relay medal of the meet.

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 100 Breast 2016 Olympic Games
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2016 Olympic Games
Silver 200 Breast 2020 Olympic Games
Silver 400 Medley Relay 2020 Olympic Games
Bronze 100 Breast 2020 Olympic Games
Gold 50 Breast 2017 World Championships
Gold 100 Breast 2017 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2017 World Championships
Gold 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2017 World Championships
Gold 50 Breast 2019 World Championships
Gold 100 Breast 2019 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2019 World Championships
Silver 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2019 World Championships
Gold 200 Breast 2022 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2022 World Championships
Gold 400 Mixed Medley Relay 2022 World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2023 World Championships
Silver 50 Breast 2023 World Championships
Gold 50 Breast 2016 Short Course World Championships
Gold 200 Medley Relay 2016 Short Course World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2016 Short Course World Championships
Gold 200 Mixed Medley Relay 2016 Short Course World Championships
Silver 100 Breast 2016 Short Course World Championships
Gold 100 Breast 2022 Short Course World Championships
Gold 400 Medley Relay 2022 Short Course World Championships
Silver 200 Breast 2022 Short Course World Championships
Silver 200 Medley Relay 2022 Short Course World Championships
Bronze 50 Breast 2022 Short Course World Championships
Gold 100 Breast 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 200 Breast 2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Silver 400 Medley Relay 2018 Pan Pacific Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 50 Breast 29.40 07/30/17 2017 FINA World Championships
Budapest, Hungary
lcm 100 Breast 1:04.13 07/25/17 2017 FINA World Championships
Budapest, Hungary
lcm 200 Breast 2:19.92 07/29/21 2020 Olympic Games
Tokyo, Japan
scm 50 Breast 28.77 11/21/20 2020 ISL Finale
Budapest, Hungary
scm 100 Breast 1:02.50 11/22/20 2020 ISL Finale
Budapest, Hungary
scm 200 Breast 2:15.56 11/21/20 2020 ISL Finale
Budapest, Hungary
scy 100 Breast 55.73 03/22/19 2019 NCAA D1 Championships
Austin, Texas
scy 200 Breast 2:02.60 03/17/18 2018 NCAA D1 Championships
Columbus, Ohio
scy 200 IM 1:54.93 02/21/19 2019 Big Ten Championships
Bloomington, Indiana
Lilly King (photo: Jack Spitser) Lilly King (photo: Jack Spitser) Tatjana Schoenmaker Annie Lazor Lilly King (photo: Jack Spitser) Annie Lazor Lilly King (photo: Jack Spitser) Lilly King and Molly Hannis (photo: Mike Lewis) Lilly King 2017 World Championships Budapest, Hungary (photo: Mike Lewis)