Jacoby prepared for the Olympics in Alaska with just one 50-foot pool.
17 years old Lydia Jacoby surprised his more experienced rival partner in the 100m breaststroke final early Tuesday. The final had been knocked out of the screen by another American Lilly King, but Jacoby from Alaska came to the finish line in 1.05.95 and won the race. King remained in bronze, as did South Africa Tatjana Schoenmaker had time for her still.
Yahoo Sports says Jacoby was still the 28th fastest swimmer on his way to the United States in early 2020. The races, which were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, allowed the young swimmer to develop to a sufficient level to open a place on the race team.
Jacoby says there were plans to come to Tokyo, but as a tourist. His family had reserved tickets for the Olympics before the coronary pandemic struck. The idea was that Jacoby would know something about the conditions of the Olympics if he made it to the 2024 Olympics.
“I was thinking of swimming in the Olympic qualifiers, but I didn’t have a real chance to join the team a year ago. So yes, we had tickets to Tokyo, we were going to come see the races, ”Jacoby told Yahoo.
Jacoby’s parents have a part to play in becoming a swimmer. Both parents are captains who carry tourists on cruises watching whales. According to NBC the parents made sure that the daughter could swim so she could be on board safely. Jacoby started swimming at the age of 6.
Conditions development were far from ideal. There is only one 50-meter pool in all of Alaska. It is located in Anchorage, 2.5 hours from Seward, home to 3,000 residents, Jacoby’s hometown.
Even the shorter ones were closed after the pandemic started and Jacoby didn’t get into the pool at all for two months. Given the humble circumstances, it’s no surprise that Jacoby is the first national team swimmer from Alaska.
“The fact that I come from a small club and a small state means that everyone has a chance, no matter where you come from”; Jacoby said according to the Washington Post.
In his home state, Jacoby was strongly encouraged. According to the U.S. swimming team’s Twitter account, the state’s long-track championship was paused during the finals to allow competitors to follow Jacoby’s race.
When the qualifiers came, Jacoby took his place on the Olympic team, although he still lost to King at the time. There were so many congratulatory messages that Jacoby had to shut down his phone.
After the Olympic gold, Jacoby also got attention for his skills outside the pool. Jacoby is a skilled singer who has performed publicly at a local festival as a soloist with a band called the Snow River String Band.
For example, a journalist from NBC Nick Zaccardi brought up Jacoby’s singing skills in a tweet, to which he attached a song in which Jacoby sings.
“We had a music camp for kids in Alaska every summer. Eventually we formed a band and played at Alaskan festivals for five or six years, ”Jaboby told the Washington Post.
Correction July 28, 2021 at 11:32 a.m .: The ingress of the story previously erroneously stated that there would be no 50-meter pool in Alaska. There is one in southern Anchorage in central Alaska.