Olympic gold medalist Lydia Jacoby waves to the crowd in Seward during her celebratory parade on Thursday, August 5, 2021. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Seward’s Jacoby nabs bronze in 100 breaststroke at world championships

Lydia Jacoby, a 2022 graduate of Seward High School, won a bronze medal in the 100-meter breaststroke at the world championships in Fukuoka, Japan, on Tuesday.

Jacoby now has three international medals. She also won a gold medal in the 100 breaststroke and a silver medal in the 400 medley relay in 2021 at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The 100 breaststroke field at world championships included three gold medalists in the 100 breaststroke and four gold medalists overall.

Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte won gold in the 100 breaststroke at 15 years old in the London Olympics in 2012.

American swimmer Lilly King won gold in the 100 breaststroke in the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa won gold in the 200 breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympics.

Meilutyte dominated Tuesday’s race, winning at 1 minute, 4.62 seconds. Schoenmaker and Jacoby both came on late, with Schoenmaker touching at 1:05.84 and Jacoby at 1:05.94.

King faded down the stretch to finish at 1:06.02.

Meilutyte’s time was the eighth fastest ever. King set the world record at 1:04.13 in 2017. Meilutyte’s best is 1:04.35 in 2013. Tuesday is the fastest Meilutyte has swam in the event since 2013.

Jacoby still has a personal best of 1:04.95, set at the Olympics.

In the prelims at worlds, Jacoby was 14th in 1:06.71, then in the semis she slipped into the eight-member finals by taking seventh in 1:06.29.

“Of course, I don’t go into a meet with the goal of bronze, but I’m very happy with the result,” Jacoby told NBC after the race. “I think I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years chasing that athlete that I was at 17 and I think I’m becoming more comfortable with my results just knowing that I’m better than the person I was last year.”

Jacoby did not make the world championships team last year and has been public about a battle with post-Olympics depression.

“It’s actually been amazing how many people have reached out to me and said that my story has helped them and inspired them to reach out for help,” Jacoby told NBC. “So anything I can do to help even just one person is amazing.”

Jacoby also will compete in the 50 breaststroke at worlds. The prelims and semis are Saturday, while the final is Sunday.

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