American Lydia Jacoby picked up her first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, upsetting teammate Lilly King in the 100-meter breaststroke.
The 17-year-old swimmer quickly became the star of the Games with the win. She finished with a time of 1:04.95, just a few tenths of a second behind King’s world- record time of 1:04.13. South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker finished with the silver medal and King captured the bronze.
The young swimmer starred for the U.S. but is still in high school and is one of the top swimmers in the country.
Here’s what else to know about Jacoby.
Born on a Leap Year
Jacoby was born on Feb. 29, 2004. She’s one of only a handful of popular athletes who have been born on Feb. 29. Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones is one of them.
Putting Alaska on the map
Jacoby was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and is the first from the 49th state to ever make the U.S. Olympic swim team. Only a handful of swimmers had ever qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials. She’s the first athlete from Alaska to win a gold medal.
Jacoby represented the Seward Tsunami Swim Club.
“A lot of big-name swimmers come from big, powerhouse clubs,” Jacoby said. “Me coming from a small club, in a state with such a small population, really shows everyone that you can do it no matter where you’re from.”
Back home, her fans went nuts watching Jacoby capture the gold.
Heading to Texas
Jacoby still has one more year left in high school before she is set to hit the pool for the Texas Longhorns. Jacoby is set to join the school for the 2022 season.
“I’ve never had a dream college or anything until Texas,” she told KTUU-TV in December. “That was one of [the] things I always knew I wanted in a school, I wanted to go to a big city.”
Jacoby was planning on competing in U.S. Olympic trials last year when the coronavirus pandemic hit and delayed everything. She revealed to KTUU-TV what she was doing to stay in shape.
“I was lifting weights in my garage and running with ice cleats. My dad and I were able to build a squat cage for me that was really helpful,” she said.
While Jacoby is set to swim at Texas, she will also be immersed in the music scene Austin has to offer.
Jacoby played stand-up bass for the Snow River String Band, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The group is a bluegrass act that features the Olympian swimmer and a few of her classmates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.