Tokyo Olympics: SA's Schoenmaker takes swimming silver

9 months ago 3641
Lydia JacobyLydia Jacoby, left, was embraced by Rio 2016 champion and USA team-mate Lilly King and South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker after her shock win

If the Olympics had happened one year ago, Lydia Jacoby might have been in Tokyo as a spectator.

Instead, the 17-year-old from the USA is not only competing at the delayed Games but also now an Olympic champion after beating reigning gold medallist Lilly King to win the 100m breaststroke on Tuesday.

The teenager touched home in 1:04.95 to beat South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker and finish almost a second ahead of Rio 2016 winner King, who took bronze.

In doing so, Jacoby made history as the first Olympic gold medallist from Alaska.

Her success is all the more impressive considering there is only one Olympic-sized pool in the whole of her home state and is located 125 miles away from Seward, where she lives.

"It was crazy," she said.

"I was definitely racing for a medal. I knew I had it in me. I wasn't really expecting a gold medal. When I looked up and saw that scoreboard, it was insane."

A year of extra training as a result of the coronavirus pandemic helped Jacoby improve her times. In 2019 - the last full calendar year of competition - she was the 18th fastest woman in the 100m breaststroke.

However, she has lowered her time from 1:08.12 that year to 1:05.28 in June before breaking the 1:05 mark on Tuesday.

"I don't think I would have been prepared last year at all," she said last month.

"I think this extra year of training I've grown physically and mentally."

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