King Breaks American, Pilato Ties European Record In Epic 50 Breast Showdown


Lilly King and Benedetta Pilato entered the International Swimming League (ISL) Grand Final tied for the season’s top time in the women’s 50 breaststroke, bringing things to a head in what was only their second matchup of the season.

King, who set the American Record facing Pilato head-to-head in a time of 28.86 back in Match 1, did so again in the final, winning over the Italian youngster in a time of 28.77.

That swim moves King, who competes for the Cali Condors, up from fourth to second all-time in terms of performers, trailing only world record holder Alia Atkinson. It’s also the third-fastest performance ever.

Pilato, a 15-year-old who races for Energy Standard, put up a time of 28.81 to tie Ruta Meilutyte‘s European Record set back at the 2014 Short Course World Championships in Doha. Pilato also takes out her own Italian and world junior records of 28.86 set in her last appearance in Semi-final 1, and ties with Meilutyte for the fifth-fastest performance ever.

Atkinson, who competes for the London Roar, took third in a time of 28.88, which registers as the 10th-fastest swim of all-time.

Five of the 10-fastest swims ever have come during the 2020 ISL season.

Fastest Performances of All-Time, Women’s 50 Breaststroke (SCM)

Rank Swimmer Time Year
1 Alia Atkinson (JAM) 28.56 2018
2 Alia Atkinson (JAM) 28.64 2016
3 Lilly King(USA) 28.77 2020
4 Jessica Hardy (USA) 28.80 2009
T-5 Benedetta Pilato (ITA) 28.81 2020
T-5 Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) 28.81 2014
7 Alia Atkinson (JAM) 28.84 2017
T-8 Benedetta Pilato (ITA) 28.86 2020
t-8 Lilly King (USA) 28.86 2020
10 Alia Atkinson (JAM) 28.88 2020

Despite Jessica Hardy having been faster than King’s old American Record of 28.86 in 2009, Hardy’s swim wasn’t officially recognized as an AR. This was because USA Swimming stopped recognizing national records officially over the final few months of 2009 due to the super-suits. The only exception was if the swim was a world record, such as Rebecca Soni‘s 2:14.57 in the 200 breast.

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4 months ago

Pilato is going to be scary in a couple of years. crazy sprinter genetics. she still needs work for a full competitive 100m

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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