Seward High School freshman Lydia Jacoby earned a prestigious position in the world of swimming on Friday when she qualified for the upcoming Olympic trials in 2020 in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Jacoby, 14, took first place in the B final at the USA Swimming 2018 National Winter Championships in Greensboro, N.C., her first national swim meet. At 1:10.45, Jacoby’s was the seventh fastest time overall, and a half-second faster than the Olympic trial qualifying time of 1:10.99.
The top swimmer in the 100-meter breaststroke was Olympian Micah Sumrall with a time of 1:06.34.
Events at the national championship conclude with three finals with eight swimmers each. The top 24 swimmers in the preliminary heats move into the finals, with the top eight swimming in the A final, the middle eight in the B final and the next eight in the C final.
Despite swimming the seventh fastest, Jacoby technically placed ninth, as swimmers in the B final cannot push swimmers in the A final out of position.
Jacoby also swam in the C final for the 200-meter breaststroke after she shot way ahead of her 42nd place seed. Jacoby swam 2:38.41 in that event for the prelims, putting her in 25th, one place shy of a spot in the final. But when one of the swimmers ahead of her scratched, Jacoby got slid into the 24thspot.
She placed 6th in the C final, 22nd overall.
Jacoby rubbed elbows with and swam alongside stars of the U.S. swimming world, including multipleOlympic gold-medalists Katie Ledecky, world-record holder in the 400-, 800- and 1500-meter freestyle, and Simone Manuel, gold-medalist in the 100-meter freestyle.
“It was pretty intimidating, but it was also really exciting,” Jacoby said. “Sitting on the bleachers and having Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel sit down beside you – it was pretty cool.”
In the 100-meter breaststroke, Jacoby competed against Olympians Micah Sumrall and Sophie Hansson, who placed first and second respectively in the A final.
Jacoby is the state record-holder in the 100-yard breaststroke, a title she earned at the 2018 state swimming championship.