Alaskan Lydia Jacoby Has Surprising Olympic Swimming Gold Medal For America

There were four gold medal swimming races at the Olympics on Monday night in Tokyo, and Team USA looked poised to bring in a great haul of gold. However, it was a teenage swimmer from Alaska who brought the only gold for the night.

Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old from Seward, won the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic finals, making her the first resident from Alaska to win Olympic summer gold. The state's only other Summer Olympics medalist is Corey Cogdell, who won a bronze in shooting.

Jacoby outlasted a field that included fellow American Lilly King—the former Olympic champ and current world record holder—and a host of other swimmers.

Not long after the race, King posted a photo to her Facebook thanking all those who showed up to support her in her hometown.

"Thanks to all of you for coming out to Bosse Field tonight! Came up a little short, but props to Lydia Jacoby for keeping the title at home!"

This wasn't supposed to be the biggest race of the night, but it was for the Americans.

Lydia Jacoby
Lydia Jacoby of Team United States competes in the Women's 100m Breaststroke Final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The women's 100-meter backstroke race in the finals set up to be an epic event on night four of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and the athletes didn't disappoint.

Australian Kaylee McKeown set the new Olympic record by beating American Regan Smith in perhaps the best race of Monday night (American time). McKeown took the crown ahead of Canada's Kylie Masse (silver) and Smith (bronze).

This comes just one night after Australia's Ariarne Titmus pulled a come-from-behind win to knock off American Katie Ledecky in the finals for the women's 400-meter freestyle race, staging an upset and bringing back the spark of the Australian-American rivalry in international swimming.

Ledecky, who was a prohibitive favorite to win multiple freestyle events, led the 400 meters on Monday night (Japan time) until Titmus came from behind during the final 100 meters to win the Olympic gold.

She won her heat of the 200-meter freestyle on Tuesday in Japan to set her up in a final against Titmus on Wednesday (Tuesday night in the U.S.), for a rematch. Ledecky is the favorite to win the 1,500 on Tuesday night.

American Keiran Smith qualified for the top spot in the men's 200-meter freestyle final, but he finished fifth behind Great Britain's Tom Dean (gold), Duncan Scott (silver) and Brazil's Fernando Scheffer (bronze).