Lilly King’s 200 Breast DQ Upheld After Lengthy Protest and Appeal Process


American breaststroke star Lilly King was disqualified in the third heat of the 200 breast Thursday morning in Gwangju, and more than eight hours later, after going through the protest and appeal process, the ruling will officially stand.

King won her prelims heat, then turned at the scoreboard and reacted with shock upon seeing the DQ. According to the Italian broadcast, she walked to the officials’ table to protest, and was turned away. King was apparently not given a reason for her DQ when she asked after her race.

USA Swimming also did not know what it was for until about 30 minutes after the race, when it was told that King did a “non-simultaneous touch” on her first turn.

As of 45 minutes after the race, the results were officially “under review,” and USA Swimming lodged an official appeal shortly thereafter. Video replay is in use at this meet to review DQs if necessary. It can only to overturn calls on swimmers who were DQ’d by an official on deck, not to make a DQ, and is done immediately upon relay of the official’s call: in some cases, even before the race is over.

According to a spokesperson for USA Swimming, that protest was denied. In this situation, per the FINA rulebook, a Team USA leader could appeal to the Jury of Appeal, which was done, and the case was heard before the night session Thursday.

Here’s the process for appeal, from summarized from FINA’s general rules: the appeal goes to the entire FINA Bureau. The 20-person technical committee makes a recommendation, and any Americans on the committee can speak but not vote; that means FINA VP Dale Neuburger and Technical Committee Chair Carol Zaleski cannot vote. The jury’s decision is final.

The process was invoked in 2009 when United States open water swimmer Fran Crippen‘s finish approach in the 10k led to a disqualification and subsequent protest. That protest went to the Jury of Appeal and ultimately got the DQ overturned, awarding him the bronze medal.

King held the No. 3 time in the world heading into the meet, at 2:21.39 from May. The 22-year-old raced to a world title in the 100 breast, in which she is the world record holder and defending Olympic champion, Tuesday. American Micah Sumrall will represent the United States in the second semifinal after going 2:25.17 Thursday morning.

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That’s disappointing.

Id love to see what angles they used to determine this. I assume they had better ones than we did.

It was obviously a very close call seeing as they took this long, I hope they had a good angle for the decision.


Better now than the Olympics…


I’m Australian so I’d prefer the Olympics! (Not that we are doing anything in this event).

Nah I just like seeing the best swimmers swim. Lily king is that. What meet it is doesn’t matter to me.


They used cameras taken by sun’s mother 🤬


So can’t beat Sun in the pool, so you guys pulling all stops trying to discredit him. Now you try to beat the camera? I guess insinuation doesn’t work in this case. It does make you look utterly foolish, though.


Yeah we’re so concerned with your 1 good swimmer.

Steve Schaffer

They only took this long because it was when they could get the Jury members together. They decided in relatively short order, as was done with the initial video review of the call, and as was done with the denial of the protest. USA Swimming felt obligated to pursue and exhaust all available options, but with a dedicated video system just for this purpose, it was a losing cause. Far more swimmers have been saved at this meet from bad calls by this system than had dqs upheld, and FINA is leaning that many real violations are going uncalled. Finally change is coming and underwater views are being used to overturn or uphold calls based on quality video not part… Read more »


Almost a silly thing to DQ a top level swimmer for, Fina better have good evidence. Where was Lilly’s official from?


There’s no conspiracy


Why even cut any turn close in a prelim heat as the best in the world? For her it was essentially a warmup swim why take any chances? Survive and advance…


Where was the official from? That’s a very prejudicial comment to make. It doesn’t matter. They’re a FINA official.


Silly? Anyone who coaches age group swimmers knows it is not silly. She had a dedicated turn judge on her lane who watched only her. I watch a lot of under water camera footage at higher level meets and see things go uncalled.


Like she did in Rio.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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