IU swim coach says Lilly King "at 80%" for World Championships

Lilly King is swimming in the World Championships at “80% of what her capability is,” coach Ray Looze said Tuesday.

King, who is coached by Looze at Indiana University, was uncharacteristically fourth in Monday’s 100-meter breaststroke at Budapest, Hungary. The 25-year-old from Evansville has an Olympic gold medal and two world titles in the event but was nearly two seconds slower than her world record.

King swam the breaststroke leg in prelims of the 400-meter mixed medley relay and thus earned a gold medal when the United States won Tuesday night’s final. It was her eighth World Championships gold.

“She’s doing the best she can,” Looze said. “It doesn’t take a genius to kind of know what’s going on, given the world around us.”

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JUNE 19: Lilly King of Team United States reacts after competing in the Women's 100m Breaststroke Semi Final 2 on day two of the Budapest 2022 FINA World Championships at Duna Arena on June 19, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Hunter Armstrong, Nic Fink, Torri Huske and Claire Curzan won gold in the mixed medley relay in 3:38.79.

King is also scheduled to race 50 and 200 breaststrokes, plus women’s 400 medley relay.

Medical conditions have influenced Team USA at worlds.

Before the meet, IU Olympian Michael Brinegar pulled out of the open water 25-kilometer because of a recent case of COVID-19. Another Olympian, Carmel’s Drew Kibler, was omitted from Saturday’s 400 freestyle relay. USA Swimming released a statement saying COVID protocol travel delays led to pulling out Kibler, who was fourth in Monday’s 200 freestyle.

On Tuesday, Caeleb Dressel withdrew from semifinals of the 100 freestyle, in which he is reigning Olympic and world champion. He was also out of the mixed medley. Lindsay Mintenko, national team managing director for USA Swimming, announced the decision on Dressel was made on medical grounds.

More: Lilly King, Drew Kibler swim to top of the world in securing Team USA spots

“The team will determine his participation in the events later in the week,” Mintenko said.

In Dressel’s absence, Romania’s 17-year-old David Popovici was fastest in semifinals of the 100 freestyle in 47.13, a world junior record.

Elsewhere, U.S. men won two gold medals in setting American records: Bobby Finke, 7:39.36 in the 800 freestyle, and Fink, 26.45 in the 50 breaststroke.

Finke, who was fourth through 750 meters, swam the closing 50 meters in 25.93 and came from behind to win, as he did at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Hungary’s Kristof Milak lowered his own world record to 1:50.34 in winning gold in the 200 butterfly.

Contact IndyStar reporter David Woods at david.woods@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Lily King seconds slower than her world record, coach says