Lilly King Says It Was ‘Really Special’ Her Boyfriend Proposed at U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials

Lilly King is celebrating making the U.S. Olympic swimming team — and her engagement!

Speaking with Today on Friday, June 21, King and her new fiancé James Wells discussed the special moment and how it came about. “I was honestly so confused he was on deck. After that I was like, ‘Why are you wearing your nice clothes? What’s going on?’ Then I realized I was like, ‘Oh, I know what’s going on,’” King, 27, said, explaining her thought process as she walked away from the pool and spotted Wells.

“I was expecting it more after the Games because we’re going to go frolic around Europe after that. But last night I was not expecting it at all,” she added.

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As for Wells, he revealed that he decided to propose after she clinched her spot in the Paris Olympics because the moment was already so special, and he wanted to add to the magic.

Lilly King, James Wells. NBCSports/X

“I was actually, funnily enough, originally planning to do it after the Paris Games when we were going around, when we were probably in England. And then just seeing Lilly with all of her friends here, in this stadium in her home state, I was like, ‘I think this will be a really special moment that she could share with everyone.’ So, I called up a few of my friends that are working here and got me behind the scenes and kind of set all this stuff up, and it was really awesome,” he said.

King said that between making Team USA and getting engaged, her week has been “unbelievable” and “special.”

“It was already an unbelievable week to start off with. Making the Olympic team, obviously could not be more special, and now getting married!,” she said. “So it was great. And just being able to do it in front of my friends and loved ones, my family’s all here and all of my favorite people are here this week. It’s really special.”

The big moment happened just after King qualified for Paris in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Olympic trials.

“Getting to watch you over the last four years, both in and out of the pool, and just to see you grow has been so awesome,” Wells said as King looked away and joked that she needs someone to fix her hair.

“I don’t regret for a minute dropping my job and moving halfway across the country for us to move in together,” Wells continued. “It has been awesome, and I am very excited to see where this is going. So, dear, I was wondering, Lilly Camille King, will you marry me?”

King immediately said yes, kissed Wells and the couple embraced.

King will represent Team USA in the 200-meter breaststroke and the 100-meter breaststroke. With these qualifications, King will become the first U.S. swimmer to swim both the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke at three consecutive Olympic Games, per Bleacher Report.

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.com and come to people.com to check out ongoing coverage before, during and after the games. Watch the Paris Olympics and Paralympics, beginning July 26, on NBC and Peacock.

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