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Lilly King on DQ at world swims: I did it

By BETH HARRISJuly 26, 2019
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United States' Lilly King reacts after her womens' 200m breaststroke heat at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Thursday, July 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man )
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United States' Lilly King reacts after her womens' 200m breaststroke heat at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, Thursday, July 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man )

GWANGJU, South Korea (AP) — Lilly King believes officials made the right call when they disqualified her for an unorthodox turn in the 200-meter breaststroke heats at the world swimming championships.

As a result, the American said Friday she will reevaluate her turns in the event.

Officials ruled King didn’t touch the wall with both hands at the same time in the first turn Thursday.

“They made the right call,” King said Friday. “When you saw it in super slo-mo and super zoom, I definitely did it.”

The U.S. lost its initial protest of the DQ and was denied again by FINA’s Jury of Appeals.

“I really appreciate everyone’s effort to try to get it overturned, but it was so over the top,” King said, referring to the drawn-out process that took most of the day and wasn’t announced until shortly before the evening semifinals.

King, an outspoken doping critic, criticized FINA earlier in the meet for allowing China’s Sun Yang to compete in Gwangju while he has a pending case before the Court for Arbitration in Sport that threatens to result in his lifetime ban.

She also supported Australian Mack Horton’s shunning of Sun on the medals podium, saying, “I don’t think anyone at FINA is going to stand up for the athletes, so the athletes have to stand up for themselves.”

“Do I think maybe something I had said about FINA earlier maybe came back to haunt me in the jury? Yeah, probably,” King said, “but I’m still going to stand up for what I believe in and in the end the official made the right call.”

In the turns, swimmers try to get in and out of the wall as fast as possible. Some place both hands flat on the wall. King describes her technique as unorthodox.

She staggers her hands, with her right touching flat above the water and her left poking the wall with a finger. She uses her flat hand to push away. On-deck judges observe each lane to ensure swimmers touch the wall simultaneously.

“I think it would have been very difficult to see with the human eye personally, but I think the official was standing at just the right angle and she got me,” King said. “The officials are there to do their job and that’s what they did.”

King said she was disqualified for the same infraction in the event at the U.S. national championships four years ago.

She’s glad this latest DQ occurred at worlds instead of next year’s Olympics.

“I still have a whole year to fix that and make it better and make it perfect before we get to Tokyo,” she said.

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