Seward’s Lydia Jacoby breaks national age-group record while swimming into finals at US Olympic Trials

Lydia Jacoby

Seventeen-year-old Lydia Jacoby of Seward of set a national age-group record Monday and will try to win a spot on the Olympic team Tuesday at the U.S. Olympic Trials for swimming in Omaha, Nebraska.

Jacoby won her semifinal heat with a scorching time Monday to advance to the eight-woman finals of the 100-meter breaststroke.

She finished in 1 minute, 5.71 seconds, the fourth-fastest time in the world this season.

She broke the national age-group record for 17-18 girls by an eyelash — the previous record was 1:05.75, set in 2009 — while shaving nearly seventh-tenths of a second off her previous best (1:06.38, posted in an April meet).

The real test comes Tuesday when she swims in the eight-woman finals at the CHI Health Center in Omaha.

The top two swimmers will earn spots on the American team that will compete in the Summer Olympics, which begin July 23 in Tokyo.

And while Jacoby’s semifinal time ranks fourth in the world, the women who own the No. 1 and No. 2 times will be in the finals too.


[With a new PR that puts her among the world leaders, Lydia Jacoby inserts herself into the Olympic conversation]

World-record holder Lilly King won Monday’s other semifinal in a course-record time of 1:04.72, the world’s fastest time this season. Annie Lazor placed second the same heat in 1:05.37, the world’s second-fastest time.

Jacoby, a member of Seward’s Tsunami Swim Club, advanced to the 16-swimmer semifinals by turning in the fourth-fastest qualifying time in Monday’s preliminary (1:06.40, just shy of a personal-best).

She went on to win a close semifinal race.

Lydia Jacoby

She trailed Bethany Galat, who ranked third after the preliminaries, by more than a half-second at the turn. She blazed through the second half to win by .25 of a second.

Jacoby swam the first 50 meters in 31.50 seconds and the second 50 meters in 34.21. Her split in the final 50 meters was the best of the day, surpassing King’s 34.53.

The final is the fifth race in Tuesday’s evening session, which begins at 4 p.m. Alaska time.

Beth Bragg

Beth Bragg wrote about sports and other topics for the ADN for more than 35 years, much of it as sports editor. She retired in October 2021. She's contributing coverage of Alaskans involved in the 2022 Winter Olympics.