SWIMMING: King out-touches Efimova twice, plus two more wins for Sjostrom in Champions Series in Indy

Olympic and World Breaststroke champ Lilly King (USA) (Photo: USA Swimming)

There aren’t a lot of well-known feuds in world-class swimming, but the Rio rivalry between breaststroke stars Lilly King of the U.S. and Russia’s Yulia Efimova is one that even fans outside of the sport know well.

And they matched up twice on the first day of the final leg of the FINA Champions Swim Series in Indianapolis at the famed IU Natatorium, with King scoring two victories in different styles:

● In the 200 m Breast, King’s weakest event, she took the lead immediately and had the race in hand through the first half. But Efimova charged into the lead on the third lap and continued with the lead through the last turn. But King ramped up the pace of her strokes and wrestled the lead away in the final 25 m for a 2:21.29-2:21.59 win, moving the American to no. 2 on the world list for 2019 behind fellow American Annie Lazor (2:20.77).

● The 50 m Breast has King as the world-record holder, and she stormed out from the start and produced a world-leading time of 29.63 – 0.40 better than her 30.03 at the Tyr Swim Series at Bloomington, with Efimova at 29.93. How good was King’s swim? All-time, only she (world record 29.40), retired Ruta Meilutyte (LTU: 29.48) and Efimova (29.52) have ever swum faster!

There has been very little competition for Sweden’s sprint star Sarah Sjostrom in the Champions Series and she won her 10th and 11th races (in 12 tries) in the circuit, taking the 100 m Butterfly in a world-leading 56.42, then followed up with an impressive final lap to take the 100 m Freestyle in 52.97.

Sjostrom completed sweeps of all three legs of the FINA Champions Series in both events; she has two more possibilities tomorrow. Brazil’s Nicholas Santos won the 50 m Fly to sweep all three meets in that event.

American Chase Kalisz was the other two-event winner, powering through the 200 m Fly and 200 m Medley with decisive wins by more than a second each over Justin Wright (+1.02) and Michael Andrew (+1.67).

There were impressive wins by Ryan Murphy of the U.S. in the men’s 100 m Back, timing 52.99 for no. 3 on the 2019 world list, and by Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys, who won the men’s 200 m Free in 1:45.56, the second-fastest time in the world this year.

Prize money was $10,000-8,000-6,000-5,000 for the four placers in the individual events. The meet continues tomorrow, and will be shown on NBC’s Olympic Channel beginning at 7 p.m. eastern time. Summaries from day one:

FINA Champions Swim Series
Indianapolis, Indiana (USA) ~ 31 May-1 June 2019
(Full results here)

Men

50 m Freestyle: 1. Vladimir Morozov (RUS), 21.65; 2. Michael Andrew (USA), 21.86; 3. Bruno Fratus (BRA), 22.202; 4. Anthony Ervin (USA), 22.68.

200 m Free: 1. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 1:45.56; 2. Townley Haas (USA), 1:47.09; 3. Gabriele Detti (ITA), 1:47.29; 4. Pieter Timmers (BEL), 1:48.74.

100 m Backstroke: 1. Ryan Murphy (USA), 52.99; 2. Matt Grevers (USA), 53.37; 3. Jacob Pebley (USA), 53.40; 4. Robert Glinta (ROU), 54.33.

100 m Breaststroke: 1. Cody Miller (USA), 59.26; 2. Arno Kamminga (NED), 59.72; 3. Anton Chupkov (RUS), 59.90; 4. Kevin Cordes (USA), 1:01.27.

50 m Butterfly: 1. Nicholas Santos (BRA), 22.94; 2. Andrew (USA), 23.11; 3. Andrii Govorov (RUS), 23.14; 4. Oleg Kostin (RUS), 23.29.

200 m Fly: 1. Chase Kalisz (USA), 1:56.91; 2. Justin Wright (USA), 1:57.93; 3. Zach Harting (USA), 1:58.83; 4. Jack Conger (USA), 1:58.96.

200 m Medley: 1. Kalisz (USA), 1:58.41; 2. Andrew (USA), 2:00.08; 3. Josh Prenot (USA), 2:01.13; 4. Harting (USA), 2:08.33.

Women

100 m Freestyle: 1. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 52.97; 2. Pernille Blume (DEN), 53.68; 3. Ranomi Kromowidjojo (NED), 53.72; 4. Penny Oleksiak (CAN), 54.22.

400 m Free: 1. Leah Smith (USA), 4:03.86; 2. Melanie Margalis (USA), 4:06.35; 3. Hali Flickinger (USA), 4:09.72; 4. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 4:12.30.

50 m Backstroke: 1. tie, Kylie Masse (CAN), and Anastasiia Fesikova (RUS), 28.20; 3. Kromowidjojo (NED), 28.71; 4. Etiene Medeiros (BRA), 28.85.

200 m Back: 1. Margherita Panziera (ITA), 2:06.64; 2. Hosszu (HUN), 2:06.94; 3. Masse (CAN), 2:07.59; 4. Fesikova (RUS), 2:12.41.

50 m Breaststroke: 1. Lilly King (USA), 29.63; 2. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 29.93; 3. Molly Hannis (USA), 30.40; 4. Bethany Galat (USA), 31.72.

200 m Breast: 1. King (USA), 2:21.29; 2. Efimova (RUS), 2:21.59; 3. Micah Sumrall (USA), 2:23.88; 4. Galat (USA), 2:24.33.

100 m Butterfly: 1. Sjostrom (SWE), 56.42; 2. Kelsi Dahlia (USA), 57.55; 3. Oleksiak (CAN), 58.44; 4. Farida Osman (EGY), 58.67.

Mixed

4×100 m Freestyle: 1. Team 4 (Michael Andrew/USA, Jacob Pebley/USA, Kelsi Dahlia/USA, Ranomi Kromowidjojo/NED), 3:28.27; 2. Team 2 (Ryan Murphy/USA, Nicholas Santos/BRA, Etiene Medeiros/BRA, Kylie Masse/CAN), 3:30.94; 3. Team 3 (Jack Conger/USA, Cody Miller/USA, Sydney Pickrem/AUS, Hali Flickinger/USA), 3:33.85; 4. Team 1 (Zach Harting/USA, Josh Prenot/USA, Lilly King/USA, Yuliya Efimova/RUS), 3:39.13.