Olympic trials: USA's Lilly King qualifies for second Paris event, becomes engaged

Lilly King finished second in the women's 200-meter breaststroke at the Olympic trials Thursday in Indianapolis. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI
1 of 5 | Lilly King finished second in the women's 200-meter breaststroke at the Olympic trials Thursday in Indianapolis. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

June 21 (UPI) -- Still dripping from her second qualifying swim for Paris 2024, Lilly King was faced with one of the most important questions of her life -- "Will you marry me?" -- as her boyfriend proposed in Indianapolis.

The moment occurred after King finished second in the women's 200-meter backstroke Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium. King qualified for her first Summer Games event Monday when she won the 100-meter backstroke.


Kate Douglass, who qualified Wednesday by winning the 100-meter freestyle, clocked a time of 2:19.46 on Thursday to edge King (2:21.93) in the 200-meter backstroke. King then exited the pool and went backstage, where she met boyfriend James Wells.

Wells first spoke to King about their relationship before going down to a knee and proposing.

"Oh my God," King said, before responding with "Yes, yes, I love you."


King proceeded to put the ring on her finger while being surrounded by cameras. NBC caught the reaction of several others in the area, including swimmer Regan Smith, who shed tears of happiness while watching the proposal.

"Lilly did the bid for this pool," Wells said on the NBC broadcast. "Having this be in her home state is so incredible. All of us that swam at Indiana University together and did all this stuff together, this is such a powerful swimming state. It just means so much to her to be here in front of this crows. So I was like, this is the perfect opportunity to do it."

King, 27, is headed to her third-consecutive Olympics. She earned five medals, including two golds, through her last two trips. King, the world-record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke, won that event in 2016, but placed third at Tokyo 2020. She won silver in the 200-meter breaststroke in Tokyo.

Smith, who previously qualified with a world-record time in the women's 100-meter backstroke, went on to win the women's 200-meter butterfly on Thursday with at time of 2:05.70. Alex Shackell (2:06.69) finished second to qualify for her first individual event.


Ryan Murphy, who won the 100-meter backstroke on Monday, won the men's 200-meter backstroke on Thursday with a time of 1:54.33. Keaton Jones (1:54.61) finished second to earn a spot on Team USA.

With that victory, Murphy became the first American win both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke events at three-consecutive Olympic trials.

Murphy is a six-time Olympic medalist, with four golds. He won the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke at the 2016 Summer Games. Murphy was second in the 200-meter backstroke and third in the 100-meter backstroke at the 2020 Summer Games.

The Olympic trials will continue Friday with the women's 200-meter backstroke and men's 50-meter freestyle and 200-meter individual medley.

Saturday's slate will include the men's 100-meter butterfly and women's 200-meter individual medley and 800-meter freestyle. On Sunday, the final day of the trails, swimmers will compete in the women's 50-meter freestyle and mens' 1,500-meter freestyle.

Olympic trial coverage will start daily at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC.

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