Lilly King Rides Wave of Confidence to Second Olympics as Alaska’s Lydia Jacoby Makes History

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Lilly King expected to win. She always expects to win.

That confidence doesn’t come easy to most, and it wasn’t easy for King, but she finally figured out a mindset that works for her.

“I love those high-pressure situations. I go in confident and I know what is going to happen even if everyone else doesn’t,” Lilly King said.  “Going in not being sure of myself is not a good way to race.”

King became a two-time Olympian by winning the 100-meter breaststroke on Tuesday in Omaha at the Olympic trials.

That she was sure of, even if the race itself didn’t go as well as she had hoped.

What she wasn’t sure of was who would be joining her on the journey to Tokyo.

It turns out, it was the person who had the longest journey to get to Omaha — Alaska’s Lydia Jacoby.

“I love to see more representation of states,” King said. “That is a big deal in her hometown and her home state. I am really excited for her. It’s kind of what I expected coming in but I did not expect Lydia to have that race and I’m excited to have a new training partner and excited to see what we can do.”

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Lilly King. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

King cruised to the win in 1:04.79, the fastest time in the world this year, but it was a race King herself called “sloppy.”

“I was not very happy with a that race strictly on performance,” King said. “That means I have more to work on in the tank for the big dance.”

And now she will have a new dancing partner.

“Lydia and I swim opposite races. I am high tempo front end and she is low tempo back end,” King said.

That back-end surge by Jacoby (1:05.28) gives Alaska its first Olympian in swimming once the second places are made official later in the week.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to me,” Jacoby said. “I’m so excited. It means so much to me to be able to represent my state at a meet like this. And I’m so excited to now represent my country as well. It’s amazing. I knew it was going to be a very high emotion meet because so many people have so much riding on it. I came into this meet, obviously with expectations for myself but knowing that I have so much of my career ahead of me, so just trying to keep that in perspective. It means so much to me that that headspace worked out and I was able to get past the bigger emotions and focus on my races.”

King is looking forward to being someone Jacoby can lean on as a first-time Olympian. After all, King had plenty of veterans make an impact on her.

“I really enjoy being on the other side of thing. I was really fortunate to have several veteran Olympian be mentors to me, Missy (Franklin), Katie Meili, Schmitty (Allison Schmitt) and (Elizabeth) Beisel,” King said. “I am excited to be able to do that same thing they did for me.”

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Lydia Jacoby. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The Race

King turned with the lead and was able to hold off the field with the fastest time in the world this year. Annie Lazor, King’s training partner, ended up third with a 1:05.60, ahead of Bethany Galat (1:05.75) behind Alaska’s history maker, who put together the second-fastest time in the world this year (1:05.28).

Many of the biggest names in the breaststroke made the final, some easier ways than others.

2016 Olympian Molly Hannis was reinstated to the final. Hannis was originally disqualified last night for “a dolphin kick violation” and her DQ was overturned via video review, pushing the final to nine people.

USA national team members Bethany Galat, Emily Escobedo and Micah Sumrall were in the final, along with former NCAA runner-up Miranda Tucker.

Top 9 Finals Results

  1. Lilly King, 1:04.79
  2. Lydia Jacoby, 1:05.28
  3. Annie Lazor, 1:05.60
  4. Bethany Galat, 1:06.75
  5. Kaitlyn Dobler, 1:06.29
  6. Micah Sumrall, 1:06.84
  7. Molly Hannis, 1:07.26
  8. Emily Escobedo, 1:07.31
  9. Miranda Tucker, 1:07.44

3 comments

  1. Brent Lichty

    Congratulations Lilly and Lydia

  2. Nicole Josephs

    We love Lilly! Excited to see Lydia start making her mark!