Watch: Efimova Blasts 2:19 to Win Women’s 200 Breast Gold in Budapest (Race Video)


Really, it wasn’t even close. After a week-long media frenzy of King-versus-Efimova, Russia’s Yuliya Efimova took home the gold medal in the women’s 200m breaststroke with nary a competitor in sight. Efimova finished over two seconds ahead of the field with 2:19.64.

Lilly King, who had won a gold medal in the 100m breast earlier in the week, took it out hard, turning in 31.79 at the first wall. But the 200m breast is a different animal, and the rest of the field patiently moved up over the next two 50s. Indeed, King’s 100 and 150 splits were the slowest in the final and she found herself in fourth place turning into the final 50 meters. Meanwhile, her teammate Bethany Galat had turned seventh at both the 100 and 150 walls. Galat blew past King, and everyone else except Efimova, on her way to a second-place finish, while China’s Shi Jinglin beat King to the wall for the bronze medal.

Watch the race, courtesy of NBC Sports, below:

Write-up from Lauren Neidigh:


  • World Record: Rikke Pedersen, 2:19.11, 2013
  • Championship Record: Rikke Pedersen, 2:19.11, 2013
  • Junior World Record: Viktoria Gunes, 2:19.64, 2015
  1. GOLD: Yuliya Efimova, RUS, 2:19.64
  2. SILVER: Bethany Galat, USA, 2:21.77
  3. BRONZE: Shi Jinglin, CHN, 2:21.93

Russia’s Yuliya Efimova held a steady pace through the front half, waiting to make her move on the 3rd 50. She took off and built a sizeable lead over the field down the stretch, winning by 2 seconds in 2:19.64. With that, she was just half a second shy of the World Record.

The USA’s Bethany Galat (2:21.77) was in 7th at the 150-mark, but really turned it on in the last 50 meters to reach in and out-touch China’s Shi Jinglin (2:21.93) for silver. American 100 breast champ Lilly King had the early lead, but fell off the pace towards the end to finish just off the podium in 2:22.10.

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Justin Thompson
4 years ago

Good to see Galat congratulate her after the race. Now we have the rubber match in the 50. I think King will take the 50, but hopefully it’s close.

4 years ago

I’d rather not watch thank you ?

Tom from Chicago
4 years ago

Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame.

Efimova has been busted twice for PED doping. Her dopiness prevented Meilutye and King from getting medals in World Championship events this year.

Scott Morgan
Reply to  Tom from Chicago
4 years ago

Amazing downvotes! Surprised that are so many apologists for convicted dope-cheaters. Shame, indeed. For those the cheater as well as those who excuse and enable her. Lifetime bans!

4 years ago

Kinda fun to watch Efimova congratulate and hug a non-Lilly American. <3

200 Breast
4 years ago

Congrats to Bethany Galat! Great swim! It’s also great to see the display of sportsmanship between Galat and Efimova after the race. Both ladies are class acts.

Scott Morgan
Reply to  200 Breast
4 years ago

Efimova a “class act”….

Vlad Squad loves breaststroke
Reply to  Scott Morgan
4 years ago

at least she is more classy than King and when you meet Yuliya she is very nice, and has class. King, not so much.

4 years ago

Bravo Yulia! Good job Bethany!!!

4 years ago

Ahhh she remembered to take her medication this morning

4 years ago

Do not agree with 200 BREAST’s post. One is a proven cheater and Galat was a gracious runner-up. Looked like she congratulated Efimova. The winner, as has been pointed by others, won a medal (when she should be banned from competing) and she has (as of today) kept two deserving athletes off the podium and empty-handed. That’s not cool; that’s not fair. True champions don’t use PEDs. That said, it was an exciting race. Hungary has run a truly wonderful World Championships – a swim fan’s delight!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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