-by Henry Bushnell.
Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old from Alaska, stunned reigning gold medalist Lilly King and won the 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.
Jacoby came home in 1:04.95, South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker finished second at 1:05.22 while King, the Rio champion, finished third at 0.59 seconds off the pace.
“It was crazy, I was definitely racing for a medal I knew I had it in me, I wasn’t really expecting a gold medal, when I looked up and saw that scoreboard, and it was insane.” The 17-yeawr old swimmer said.
To many it was a surprise win as there isn’t an Olympic-length pool in Seward, Alaska, where Jacoby lives. During the pandemic, Jacoby had to move to Anchorage, two hours away, just to train. And if not for the pandemic, providing her another year of improvement, Jacoby likely would have been in Tokyo last year as a spectator.
She was the 18th-fastest women in the 100 breast in 2019, the last full calendar year of competition. She lowered her time from 1:08.12 in 2019 to 1:05.28 at U.S. Trials in June. Tuesday night, she broke the 1:05 mark.
“I don’t think I would have been prepared last year at all, I think this extra year of training I’ve grown physically and mentally.” Jacoby said.