“She’s pretty special,” Solomon D’Amico said about Lydia Jacoby.
He’s been her swim coach for the past six and a half years, and spoke to the Clarion on Thursday while waiting for their layover flight to Omaha, Nebraska.
Jacoby, a 17-year-old incoming senior from Seward, will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinal in Omaha on Monday for a chance to advance to the finals. If she finishes in the top tier at the finals the following day, she’ll qualify for the Olympics.
“She has worked tremendously hard to get to this point,” D’Amico said.
To prepare, Jacoby has been working on her turns, technique and time, D’Amico said, while making sure she’s physically and mentally refreshed.
Specifically, she has practiced her transitions in a short-course pool recently in an effort to improve her time.
D’Amico said that while Jacoby has some work to do on her turns, she’s shown a lot of improvement. In a recent meet, he said, Jacoby executed her start, pull down, tempo and speed almost perfectly.
Otherwise, he said she’s just excited to have the opportunity.
“She’s not making it bigger than it is, she’s just swimming,” he said. “There’s not really a lot of pressure.”
Many of the women competing for a spot on the Olympic team are older than Jacoby, and have been swimming for longer. D’Amico said that while Jacoby has worked hard to reach this point, it won’t be her only shot.
“She has so much other life ahead of her,” he said. Jacoby will still have many more chances at making it to the Olympics, as she joins the University of Texas swimming program after she graduates high school.
D’Amico estimates around 50 Alaskans have traveled to Omaha to watch Jacoby’s Olympic trials performance. He said the whole community is excited for the semifinal meet on Monday.
On Thursday, Jacoby will also be competing in the 200-meter breaststroke semifinal.
More information on the Olympic trials can be found at the USA Swimming website. Broadcasts of the meet can be found at swimswam.com.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at firstname.lastname@example.org.