Olympic gold medalist Lilly King gets creative with training during COVID-19 pandemic

Olympic gold medalist Lilly King gets creative with training during COVID-19 pandemic
Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 7:34 PM CDT
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INDIANA (WFIE) - Olympic gold medalist and Evansville native Lilly King had no place to train when the COVID-19 pandemic forced all pools to shut down this spring.

The determined Reitz High School graduate is not letting that stop her from training - no pool, no problem.

“It’s definitely weird," King said. "It’s something I’ve never had to deal with before.”

A two-time Olympic gold medalist, King has found herself training in a three-foot deep public pool. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced all pools to close earlier this spring, Indiana University’s pro training group was left hanging out to dry.

“We didn’t have a place to train, and the Olympics were still going on at that point," King said. "So it was super stressful. We went down and swam at Lloyd Pool for about a week, and then that shut down.”

Before the Martinsville City Pool opened its doors to King and her teammates, the group was training in a small neighborhood pond - no lanes, no flags, but plenty of open water.

“We were lucky enough to run by a local triathlete," King said. "He had set up some buoys in this pond outside of his house. He said, ‘Come on by, and swim when you guys need to.’ So that was one of our stops. We were swimming in the pond. It was our local swimming spot for a little while.”

While the Martinsville City Pool is not the IU Natatorium, King says she’s thankful to have somewhere to train during this uncertain time.

“This pool has actually been super nice," King said. "It’s nice to just be back in a normal pool with lane lines and flags and just the things we are used to.”

When the International Olympic Committee decided to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games, King says it was not all bad news for the gold medalist and her teammates.

“It was nice to know we aren’t having the Olympics when I am training half the volume that I normally would," King said. "I was not ever planning on retiring after 2020, so obviously I was going to keep swimming. This year’s postponement hasn’t been too big of an issue.”

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials are scheduled for June 2021. Until then, King says she will continue to work hard and have fun.

“I’ve been competing in meets, probably one a month, since I was eight years old," King said. "It’s definitely strange, but I am kind of getting used to the break. Hope that everything is going to be okay, because in the end, everything is going to be fine. We’re going to go back to normal, and you’ll get back in the pool eventually, so it will be alright.”

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