Alaska has an Olympic swimming champion. And people watching from her hometown were into it for every moment.
Seventeen-year-old high schooler Lydia Jacoby gave the United States a victory in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke, knocking off teammate and defending Olympic champion Lilly King.
Jacoby was the first swimmer from the state ever to make the U.S. Olympic swimming team.
Now, she’s heading back to Alaska with a gold medal, rallying to win in 1 minute, 4.95 seconds.
During the NBC broadcast, they cut away to a shot of a watch party in Seward, Alaska -- population of roughly 2,800. Friends, family and classmates were jumping and screaming during the final half of the race until she touched the wall.
South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker claimed the silver in 1:05.22, while King gave the Americans another medal by taking the bronze in 1:05.54.
Jacoby was only third at the turn, trailing Schoenmaker and King. But, with her head bobbing furiously out of the water, the teenager surged past King and glided past the South African on the final two strokes to touch first.
Looking at the scoreboard with a bit of disbelief, the enormity of her accomplishment finally hit when Schoenmaker reached across the lane rope for a hug. Then it was King bounding over from two lanes away to congratulate America's new breaststroke queen.
Jacoby's stunning win salvaged what had been a disappointing morning for the American team. The U.S. had only managed a pair of bronze medals before the high schooler came through.
Travis Pittman contributed to this report.