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Upon review, Lilly King agrees with DQ in 200m breaststroke

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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.”

Earlier in the championships, King won the 100m breaststroke and took silver in the 4×100 mixed medley relay.

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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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

MORE: Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

MORE: Serena Williams, reclusive amid pandemic, returns to tennis competition

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