INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Two-time Olympic gold medalist Lilly King will headline this week’s Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium.
The Evansville native and Indiana University sophomore gained world acclaim last year in Rio, not only for her performance in the pool, but also for her public criticism of Russian rival Yulia Efimova, who’d twice been banned for doping.
King defeated Efimova in the 100m breaststroke at the 2016 Summer Games, but now finds herself chasing Efimova. The three-time Olympian for Russia recently bested King’s Olympic record at the Mare Nostrum meet. Efimova posted 1:04.82 in the 100m breaststroke, while King’s gold medal mark is 1:04.93.
“I like racing fast people. I love having a race, I love competition, and that’s why I’m in this sport. I don’t really think there’s a point to having a rivalry if we’re not going to go back and forth,” said King. “So I love seeing people put fast times up, and I love trying to beat them the week after. Hopefully, I’ll have a good swim and be low 1:04, a little faster than what she went because that’s the name of the game.”
King is scheduled to compete in the 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke and 200 individual medley over the course of the competition.
“That’s really been a change of focus for me this last year, going from being the underdog for pretty much my whole career, now all of a sudden not really being the underdog but then when people put up faster times than me, then I kind of go back to being the underdog again. So, it’s very familiar territory for me, and I like having that rivalry and having that added pressure.”
Other defending individual event Olympic champions scheduled to compete include Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Ryan Murphy and Anthony Ervin. More than 600 of the nation’s top are expected to swim in the five-day meet. Events begin Tuesday at the Natatorium downtown Indy and continue through Saturday.