Jacoby is unanimous pick for girls Pride of Alaska Youth Award

May 4, 2021

Lydia Jacoby

The only unanimous winner among the seven Directors’ Awards handed out this year, Seward swimmer Lydia Jacoby has made everyone a believer.

Jacoby lapped the field in winning the girls Pride of Alaska Youth Award after all eight Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors picked her No. 1 among the three finalists.

It’s easy to see why after the Olympic hopeful made U.S. swimming history in the 100-meter breaststroke and put the rest of the country on notice.

Jacoby injected herself into the Olympic conversation in the event after she popped a blistering time of 1:07.57 at the U.S. Open Championships, the second-fastest time in American history among girls 15 to 16 years old.

Later, a month after turning 17, she lowered her mark to 1:06.38, making her the 14th fastest U.S. woman in the history of the event and putting her in range for the national 17-18-year-old age-group record.

The only swimmer to beat her in a field of professionals was world-record holder Lilly King of Indiana.

Jacoby has qualified for the 2021 Olympic Trials this June in Nebraska and has a shot to become Alaska’s first Olympic swimmer.

The high school junior announced she will swim in college for the University of Texas Longhorns.

Jacoby beat out fellow finalists Amelia ‘Uhila, the Class 4A girls basketball Player of the Year headed to Portland State, and Naomi Bailey, the cross-country running state champion from West Valley headed to UAF.

The Pride of Alaska Youth Award rewards consistent excellence in athletic competition.

Past girls’ winners include sprinter Hailey Williams of Delta Junction in 2020, cross-country skier Kendall Kramer of West Valley in 2019 and basketball player Alissa Pili of Dimond. All three are competing in college today.

The award honors an athlete or team who not only excelled in sports in the past year or recent years but have done so with integrity and sportsmanship so as to be a positive role model for others. Recipients must be in high school or younger at time of selection.

Jacoby is the first swimmer to win the Pride of Alaska Award, which dates back to 2018 for youths and 2012 for adults.