King’s decision to swim at Indiana was right move

The AT&T Winter Swim Nationals is a U.S. championship, but that doesn’t mean all of the best swimmers in the country were in Federal Way, Washington. And not all the swimmers who competed had U.S. citizenship.
The meet was an open-ended competition that included unattached swimmers, club teams and college teams.
It’s why Lilly King, who won the 200-meter breaststroke and finished second in the 100-breaststroke to a Russian champion, was cautiously excited by her performance while representing Indiana University.
She knows some of the swimmers who are ranked ahead of her in those events were at the meet.
Still, King, a former Reitz High standout who is now a freshman at IU, gained confidence from her performance.
With the U.S. Olympic Trials in late June and early July, King now knows that if she continues her dramatic improvement since arriving in Bloomington, she will have a strong chance to qualify foru the U.S. team in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
“Now that I actually have a shot at two events it’s kind of nice because I don’t have to put all my eggs in one basket,” said King. “It definitely takes a little bit of the pressure off.
“It’s kind of crazy (that she won the 200 breaststroke) because I was 16th at nationals this summer and now I win it. I went from being 16th to first.”
She swam 2:24.47 in the 200 to break an age-group record for swimmers 17-18 that had been held by former Olympian Amanda Beard. The time was five seconds faster than her previous personal record.
In the 100, which she had hoped to win, she swam another PR (and setting another IU school record) with a time of 1:06.43.
But she was beaten by Russian Yulia Efimova, 23, who won the bronze medal in the 200 breast at the 2012 Olympics in London. Efimova was 7th in the 100 in London. And four years earlier she was 4th in the 100 and 5th in the 200 in Beijing.
The weekend validated King’s decision to swim at Indiana under head coach Ray Looze, who has a program that strives for team success in the Big Ten and NCAA but also wants his swimmers to aspire for greater things.
The Big Ten was well represented in the meet with four of the top eight women’s teams in the standings, including Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State finished 2nd through 4th behind California-Berkeley. In the combined standings for men and women, Michigan was first followed by Indiana and Ohio State.
“There are some programs that have a more collegiate approach and at Indiana we have an international approach,” said Looze. “NCAA and Big Ten is important to us but we also want to produce Olympians and help people thrive at the international level.”

This entry was posted in College Sports, Olympics by Randy Beard. Bookmark the permalink.

About Randy Beard

Randy Beard has been at the Courier & Press since 2007 and became the sports editor in 2012. He has previously been a sports editor at the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail and the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat. He began his professional sports journalist career in 1976 and has spent his career primarily covering college sports in the ACC, SEC and Big Ten. He's also covered the NFL, the original North American Soccer League and professional tennis and golf. He's covered two Super Bowls, three college football national championship games, dozens of NCAA basketball tournament games, an Olympics, a World Cup and once hung out with soccer legend George Best for two days and sat in a golf cart with Jan Stephenson.

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