Lilly King Non-Simultaneous Touch DQs Dominant Cali Condors Relay


A huge disqualification rocked the end of day 1 of the 2021 International Swimming League finale.

Cali Condors breaststroker Lilly King was called for a “one-handed turn” at the 75 meter mark of the women’s 400 medley relay final, according to television announces. That’s a race that the Condors won comfortably before the disqualification. What would have been a 38-point result for Cali wound up being just 6 points, and Cali jumped from 20 points to 38. That means a 50 point swing on the disqualification.

King has been disqualified for a one hand touch at a major meet before: at the 2019 World Championships, King was disqualified in prelims of the 200 breast for a “non-simultaneous” touch, which means essentially the same thing. The video showed a close call, but King ultimately agreed that the call was correct.

In breaststroke, swimmers are required to touch the wall with two hands “simultaneously.” The text of the rule:

At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands separated and simultaneously at, above, or below the water level.

The touch is not required to be side-by-side, or at the same level of the wall, but to the judgement of the official, has to be “simultaneous,” which in the most literal interpretation of the word is essentially impossible.

The ISL did implement a video review system this year to overturn disqualifications, but that review system, by rule, can only be used to overturn issues of relay exchanges or false starts. We have, however, seen disqualifications overturned after the session anyway.

ISL has not yet posted a video of the race. After the session, a conversation between the television analysts said they could not see it on camera replays – though as Rowdy Gaines pointed out, the official had good positioning to make the call.

The Cali Condors had massive momentum coming out of that relay that was brought to a screeching halt with the disqualification. What could have been a Cali 29-point lead is instead an Energy Standard 21-point lead.

Standings after Day 1 of the Final:

  1. Energy Standard – 271
  2. Cali Condors – 250
  3. London Roar – 206
  4. LA Current – 171

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1 year ago

ISL posted the underwater video on Instagram. Still looks like a legal touch to me but I’m not a judge.

1 year ago

More people may watch this turn than all other events in the ISL combined.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Martinfamily
1 year ago

If ISL execs see that, they’ll start doing strategic DQ’s every final.

1 year ago

in the video her rythm is just off.. no have not seen anything outside streams but… just off, you know

TX Swim
1 year ago

approximately simultaneously”…. No, it’s just plain simultaneously.

1 year ago

Nelson’s reaction makes me think it was her nkt king

IU Swammer
1 year ago

I hope they issue a clarification on Nelson vs King. As a Condors fan, I hope it’s overturned, but either way, I’d like to know for sure what the infraction was.

Swim like fish drink like fish
1 year ago

If isl is always benefit of doubt for swimmer and they got back and breast confused it should be overturned

1 year ago

Listening to the broadcast, as soon as it happened, they said it was a Lily King DQ for a long third turn. I think they said the wrong swimmer and it was actually a long turn on the third wall for Beata Nelson. The results only showing Nelson’s first split would support that. I’d love to see some video replay of Nelson’s walls for a confirmation on that.

Reply to  JFed
1 year ago

I just watched the replay and Nelson’s turn at the 75 looks fine too. I also heard “long turn” and had no idea what that meant.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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