Jacoby becomes first Alaskan to make U.S. Olympic swim team

June 15, 2021

Lydia Jacoby

You can now call Seward’s Lydia Jacoby an Olympian.

The 17-year-old became the first swimmer from Alaska to qualify for the Summer Olympics after she recorded a sizzling second-place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Jacoby came back from fifth place at the halfway mark to nearly catch defending Olympic gold medalist Lilly King, who posted the world’s fastest time of the year in 1:04.79.

Jacoby now has the world’s second-best time of 1:05.28.

“The land of the midnight sun is a little brighter tonight,” said an NBC announcer on the national broadcast.

Jacoby, who swims for Seward High and the Seward Tsunami Swim Club, never wilted under the bright lights of a meet competitors call the ‘Super Bowl’ of swimming.

She had her game face on from the very beginning, but was especially focused for the finals and her chance at making history.

“I tried messing with her in the ready room, but she wasn’t having it,” King said during the NBC broadcast. “I respect that and am glad to have a new partner heading into Toyko. She awesome.”

The baby of the bunch, Jacoby was by far the youngest swimmer in a finals field that included seven women ages 24 to 30.

In the finals, Jacoby improved on her national age-group record by.43 of a second faster than her time of 1:05.71 set in Monday’s semifinals.

She was the first Alaskan since Petersburg’s Derek Gibb in 2004 to compete in a Olympic Trials semifinals, and is now the first Alaskan to advance to the finals at the Trials.

“It means so much to me to be able to represent my state at a meet like this,” Jacoby told Swimming World Magazine. “And I’m so excited to now represent
my country as well. It’s amazing.”