Seward’s Lydia Jacoby wins gold in 100m breaststroke Olympic swimming finals

Crowd cheers as Seward’s Lydia Jacoby wins gold in 100-meter breaststroke Olympic swimming finals
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:01 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 12:04 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Seward’s Lydia Jacoby took gold in the 100-meter breaststroke finals, with a time of 1 minute, 4.95 seconds, at the Olympics in Tokyo. This was a historic finish as Jacoby became the first Alaskan to ever medal in swimming at the Olympics.

“I definitely stressed myself out yesterday so I was just trying to feel good and feel happy going into it, and I feel like I did that,” Jacoby said in her post-race interview with NBC Sports.

Jacoby’s journey has captivated the state and her hometown of Seward. Hundreds gathered to watch her race at the local railroad terminal and many in the crowd shared stories of Jacoby and memories of watching the Olympic swimmer grow up.

In the post-race interview, NBC Sports played footage of a watch party in Seward and her parents reacting to her win. Jacoby laughed and said she wanted to thank everyone for their support over the years.

The 17-year-old became the first Alaskan to qualify for the Olympics in June after an impressive performance in the pool at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. With attendance restrictions at the summer Olympics, Jacoby’s parents were unable to watch their daughter in person but followed along with other U.S. Olympic team parents in Orlando, Florida.

Supporters gather to watch Seward’s Lydia Jacoby in Olympic swimming finals

Alaska’s Lydia Jacoby is swimming for a medal in the 100-meter breaststroke finals at the Olympics in Tokyo tonight. Her supporters are gathering in Seward to watch the race!

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Monday, July 26, 2021

Jacoby took a unique path to the summer games qualifying at the 2020 U.S. Open Championship, but her plans were halted after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the U.S. Swimming Olympic trials. This time off gave the Seward teenager time to develop in the pool as she trained in Resurrection Bay when local pools were shut down due to COVID-19. When pools began to open up in Anchorage her family rented so she could train at open pools. It all paid off in the pool as Jacoby shaved seconds off her 100-meter breaststroke time.

The reality of contending for an Olympic medal started to come into the picture when Jacoby finished second to Olympic gold medalist Lilly King at the Pro Swim Series in California. Jacoby is heading into her senior year of high school at Seward High School and has committed to swim at the University of Texas.

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