At 17, Jacoby goes for gold in Tokyo
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.
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
Meet the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team for Tokyo
With a mix of returning Olympians and fresh faces, the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team is sure to make waves at the Tokyo Games. In total, 53 swimmers have been named to represent Team USA, including an astonishing 11 teenagers making their Olympic debut in Tokyo.