17-Year-Old Alaskan Lydia Jacoby Pulled Off A Stunning Upset In The 100m Breaststroke

17-Year-Old Alaskan Lydia Jacoby Pulled Off A Stunning Upset In The 100m Breaststroke

Entering Tuesday in Tokyo (Monday night stateside), all eyes were on the battle for the women’s 100-meter breaststroke between Lilly King from the USA and Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa. King’s finger-wag celebration in Rio made her an American swimming star and she came to Tokyo with high expectations, but after Schoenmaker edged out King in the semifinals there was plenty of drama between the two top qualifiers for the finals in the center two lanes.

However, it was the American in lane 3 that stole the show in the second 50, as 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby from Alaska, who got a quick mention at the top during introductions on the broadcast as an up-and-comer but someone expected to not be a top competitor yet, pulled away in the final stretch to stun both Schoenmaker and King to win the gold.

The reaction from the crowd at the watch party at the railroad terminal in her hometown of Seward, Alaska was tremendous — as was her mom filming it all on a gigantic iPad from the parents watch party in Orlando.

On the broadcast Rowdy Gaines said the entire state has one Olympic-sized pool (50 meters) and that she swims in a 25-yard pool, but she pulled off the race of her life for Olympic gold on the biggest stage of them all. Her post-race interview was everything you’d expect from a 17-year-old who just won a gold medal at the Olympics.

It is an incredibly cool moment for Jacoby, who will surely see those lofty expectations shifted onto her young shoulders for the next three years leading up to the Paris Games, but for now she can revel in one of the greatest moments any athlete can have.