Swimmer Lilly King’s Boyfriend James Wells Proposes Moments After She Qualifies for Paris Olympics

James Wells and Lilly King

Shortly after Olympic hopeful Lilly King made Team USA, her boyfriend, James Wells, surprised her with a proposal.

“Getting to watch you over the last four years, both in and out of the pool, just to see you grow has been so awesome,” Wells said right after King, 27, hopped out of the pool on Thursday, June 20. “I don’t regret for a minute dropping my job and moving halfway across the country for us to move in together. It’s been awesome.”

He continued, “I’m very excited to see where this goes. So, dear, I was wondering: Lilly Camille King, will you marry me?”

King excitedly said “Yes, yes” before embracing her newly minted fiancé and trying on her diamond ring.

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King finished in second place behind Kate Douglass during the 200-meter breaststroke trials during the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials at Indiana’s Lucas Oil Stadium. Upon getting her silver medal, she flashed her ring.

“News travels fast but I’m engaged,” King gushed in a press conference, telling reporters that she was caught off-guard by Wells’ proposal. “I was really confused ‘cause Annie [Lazor] told me to put my hair down before I walked out instead of having it in my cap, and I was like, ‘OK, sounds good,’ and then I was just confused because [James was] down here.”

King also qualified for the 100-meter breaststroke race at the Paris Olympics next month, which will be her third Games appearance. King previously competed in 2016 and 2020, earning two golds, two silvers and one bronze medal, collectively.

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The Paris 2024 Games will be King’s last time in the competition.

“I will be watching in Los Angeles [in 2028], and I’m good with that decision,” she told the Indianapolis Star earlier in June, announcing her retirement. “I will not be done after this summer, but I will not be going another four years. I’ll be cheering on the team.”

Swimmer Lilly King Boyfriend James Wells Proposes Moments After She Qualifies for Paris Olympics

Lilly King
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Wells is also a swimmer. After appearing on the Indiana University swim team as a sprint specialist until his 2014 graduation, he raced in the 100-meter men’s backstroke during the Wave 1 Olympic Trials in 2021 but has not competitively swam since then.

King started on IU’s swim team in 2015, one year after Wells graduated.

“All of us that swam at IU, together, did all this stuff together,” Wells told reporters on Thursday. “This is such a powerful swimming state, and it just means so much to her to be here in front of this crowd.”

He added, “Having this be in [Lilly’s] home state is so incredible.”


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