USA Swimming’s Protest of Lilly King DQ Denied, Will Be Heard by Jury of Appeal


American breaststroke star Lilly King was disqualified in the third heat of the 200 breast Thursday morning in Gwangju, and nearly two-and-a-half hours later, we’ve received word that USA Swimming’s protest of the decision will be heard by the Jury of Appeal before the next session begins at 8 p.m. local time Thursday.

King won the 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 will be heard Thursday before finals.

Here’s the entire process for appeal, from FINA’s general rules:

  • 9.2.3 All protests shall be considered by the referee. If he rejects the protest, he must state the reasons for his decision. The team leader may appeal the rejection to the Jury of Appeal whose decision shall be final. In Olympic Games and World Championships the Commission in each discipline shall consider the protest and give recommendations to the Jury of Appeal.
  • GR 9.3 Jury of Appeal
    • GR 9.3.1 For Olympic Games and World Championships, the Jury of Appeal shall be composed of the Bureau Members and Honorary Members present with the President or in his absence a Vice President, as Chairman. For all other FINA competitions, the Jury of Appeal shall be the FINA delegate together with any Bureau Members or members of the appropriate Technical Committee present, with the delegate as chairman. Each member shall have one vote, except as provided hereunder, and in case of equality of voting, the Chairman has a casting vote.
    • GR 9.3.2 A jury member is allowed to speak, but not to vote, on a case in which the interest of his own Federation is involved. A jury member having acted as an official is not allowed to vote on a case if there is a protest against his decision or on his interpretation of a Rule. In case of urgency, the jury may vote on a matter even if it has not been possible to call all the members. The decision of the jury is final.

In short: it goes to the entire 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 will be 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.

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Sun Yang’s Mom
1 year ago

Incredibly unprofessional way to handle all of this @ FINA

Steve Schaffer
Reply to  Sun Yang’s Mom
1 year ago

How is following the rules unprofessional? What would be the professional way to handle this in your opinion?

1 year ago

That was a DQ? Was that Efimova’s mom on the turn? Half the FINA officials cant even see their feet. OMG

m d e
1 year ago

I hope she gets it overturned.

Don’t have a stance on whether DQ was correct or not, as there was no great angle i’ve seen, but the W200 Brst is much more interesting with her in it.

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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