Jacoby hopes to do Alaska proud at 2020 Tokyo Olympics


At 17, Jacoby goes for gold in Tokyo

Lydia Jacoby

As Olympic swimmers from Alaska go, Lydia Jacoby is in a class by herself.

Indeed, the 17-year-old native of Seward is the first swimmer from the 49th State to represent the United States in the Summer Games and only the second overall after Corey Cogdell-Unrein, a trapshooter who won the bronze in 2008. And if her performances in the Olympic trials last month are any indication, she could also be in line for hardware in Tokyo.

At the meet in Omaha, Neb., on June 15, Jacoby finished second in the 100m breaststroke to Lilly King, the world’s top swimmer in that category, while also ringing up the year’s second fastest time in that event. It was enough to clinch her trip to Japan as one of 11 teenagers on the 50-member U.S. squad.

Her breakthrough comes after a year of uncertainty. She qualified for the Olympic trials in 2020, only to have the Games be pushed back to 2021 due to the pandemic. With the 50m pool in Seward closed, the high-school junior kept active by lifting weights, running in ice cleats and skiing. When that pool remained closed after others in the state had reopened, she relocated temporarily to Anchorage, two hours away, to use the facilities there.

That extra year of training and physical maturation appears to have paid off in history-making fashion for Jacoby and now Alaskans and the world will be watching to see if it will ultimately result in a place on the podium.

Jacoby vies in the 100m breaststroke event Sunday and Monday, July 25 and 26, on NBC and other outlets.

Player Profile

Full name: Lydia Alice Jacoby

Birth date: Feb. 29, 2004

Birthplace: Anchorage, Alaska (raised in Seward)

Event: 100m breaststroke

Home swim club: Seward Tsunami Swim Club

Family ties: Parents Rich and Leslie Jacoby are both licensed boat captains who taught Lydia to swim at a very young age so she’d be safe around the water

Future pursuits: Will attend the University of Texas at Austin in fall 2022

Honors and achievements: Won titles in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard individual medley at the Alaska High School State Championships in 2018 and broke here own breaststroke record a year later; joined the U.S. Junior National Team in 2019

Hidden talents: Sings and plays double bass for a bluegrass band; also plays guitar and piano

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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