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USA's Lydia Jacoby wins surprise gold in 100m breaststroke, Lilly King takes bronze

USA's Lydia Jacoby wins surprise gold in 100m breaststroke, Lilly King takes bronze
Posted at 7:36 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 00:06:57-04

The women's 100m breaststroke gold medal is staying stateside, just not in the lower 48.

There's a new champion: Alaska's 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby. The American shocked the field by winning in 1:04.95.

She and teammate Lilly King sandwiched South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker for medals, with King taking bronze in 1:05.54. In winning silver, Schoenmaker earned her country's first medal of the Tokyo Olympics. 

Is this a changing of the guard? King, who won 100m breaststroke gold in the event during the 2016 Rio Olympics, was heavily favored to repeat; this marks her first loss in the event since 2015. She led most of the way through the first 50 meters, but by the turn, was .30 behind Schoenmaker.

While all eyes focused on the race between King and Schoenmaker, Jacoby held firm in third. She pulled into first during the last 15 meters, creating a dramatic, chaotic finish. Shock registering on her face, she hugged her fellow medalists in the pool.

Both Jacoby and King were all smiles as they embraced, chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!" echoing throughout the arena. 

And back in Jacoby's hometown of Seward, Alaska, viewers exploded with delight. The camera shook as Jacoby's neighbors and friends knocked over their chairs, hugged, and threw celebratory fists in the air. Jacoby is the first Olympic swimmer from the state. 

SEE MORE: Seward, Alaska goes ballistic for Lydia Jacoby's shock win

"I definitely stressed myself out yesterday so I was just trying to feel good and feel happy going into it, and I feel like I did that," Jacoby said in her post-race interview.

"We love to keep that gold in the USA family," the 24-year-old King added. "This kid just had the swim of her life and I'm so proud to be her teammate and win bronze for my country."

Jacoby, in her debut Olympics, will also compete in the 4x100m medley relay, and could potentially compete in the 4x100m mixed medley relay.