Updated: May 10
With our Blackboard Breakdown series we look at one of the top swimmers in the world and discuss who they are, what their major achievements are and why they are so good.
It's a quick guide to their strengths whether that's physical, mental or otherwise.
In this blog we ask the question, is Lilly King unbeatable?
International Swimming League
Lilly King is one of the standout competitors over the past two years in female Breaststroke.
In the 2019 edition of ISL, King proved herself to be the form female swimmer to beat going 16 races unbeaten, through the entire year’s competition. This form followed through to the 2020 season where her total ISL wins topped a ridiculous 30 races, winning all Breaststroke Skins races she competed in. To top it all off she finished 2nd in the overall MVP rankings behind the mighty Caeleb Dressel.
When Lilly isn’t racing for the Cali Condors she trains out of Indiana University and you may have seen her make frequent appearances in Cody Miller’s vlogs.
She first broke onto the international scene at the 2016 Rio Olympics and made an instant impact by winning 2 gold medals out of the 3 events she entered. She won in the 100m Breaststroke in a time of 1.04.93 which was a new Olympic Record and also won gold in the Women's 4x100m Medley Relay. Being a crucial member to that team, the USA won that relay by 2 seconds!
Having cemented herself as the clear number one female Breaststroker in the world, she came into the 2017 Budapest World Championships as a big favourite to win the 50 and 100m Breaststroke events. Not only did she win the gold medals in both those races, but she swam new World Records in them to further secure her legacy as one the top female Breaststroker’s. On top of those individual triumphs, she also won 2 more golds in the Women's 4x100 Medley and the 4x100 Mixed Medley Relay of which both of which were, you guessed it, World Record swims.
After her first two years of major international meets, King was looking unstoppable whenever she got into the water. Her superiority continued going into the 2019 Gwangju World Championships, defending both her 50 and 100m titles as well as earning gold in the Women's 4x100 Medley Relay. Going into the Tokyo Olympics she will be favourite alongside the likes of Alia Atkinson and Benadetta Pillato.
What Makes King Such A Dominant Force In The Water?
Well, she is versatile, competing with distinction over the 50, 100 and 200m at both short and long course meters!
She has an incredible high stroke rate just like the dominant force in the male side of Breaststroke Adam Peaty. A high stroke rate effectively translates as; the faster you can perform your strokes, the faster you will move through the water. You add this with her incredibly fast turns, and she will be one of the favourites to win.
She is also an expert at spotting her finish. This is where a swimmer will adjust their stroke count and stroke length midway through a length to ensure that they finish on a full stroke and give themselves the best opportunity to win. This was especially evident in the 2020 ISL Final where, in the 50m Breaststroke, she piped Benedetta Pilato to the win.
What was also evident in the 2020 ISL was how strong a competitor she is. Like we said before, she had over 30 wins to her name in the competition and has the record for longest unbeaten run.
Whenever she’s in the pool she believes she is going to win, and right now who are we to disagree!!
Check out the video below!!