Swimming: King and Efimova advance for possible rematch

Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:12pm EDT
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By Mark Trevelyan

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Two days after their tense clash in the final of the 100 meter breaststroke, Lilly King of the United States and Russia's Yulia Efimova both came through their morning heats in the 200m, but well behind leader Rikke Moller Pedersen of Denmark.

King, gold medalist in the 100, was fifth in her heat and squeezed through in 15th place out of 16 to Wednesday evening's semi-finals with a time of two minutes 25.89 seconds.

Efimova, the silver medalist on Monday and Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 in 2012, came third in her heat, despite finishing strongly, and qualified in eighth place with 2:23.90.

With two past doping suspensions, the Russian was initially excluded from the Rio Games but succeeded in a last-minute appeal last week to be allowed to compete.

Comments by King describing her rival as a drug cheat have sharpened the rivalry between the two, and Russian swimming chief Vladimir Salnikov told Reuters on Tuesday the atmosphere surrounding his team reminded him of the Cold War.

Efimova, showing the strain of months of uncertainty over whether she would make it to Rio, was distraught after losing to the American on Monday, when she was resoundingly booed by the crowd.

Asked how she was feeling now, the Russian replied with one word: "Great."

King, referring to the storm of controversy over her comments, said: "It's been a little overwhelming to be honest, but you know I'm still just trying to get off my phone a little bit and focus on my race and see what happens after that."   Continued...

Aug 7, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;  Lilly King (USA) during the women's 100m breaststroke heats in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports