17-year-old Lydia Jacoby became the first Alaskan to win a summer Olympic medal as she stunned American team-mate Lilly King to claim 100m breaststroke gold in Tokyo.
Defending champion and world record-holder King had not lost a breaststroke race over the distance since 2015 but had no answer to her young compatriot as she took bronze, with South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker, who had set a new Olympic record in the heats, splitting the Americans for silver.
Jacoby had been planning to attend the Olympics as a fan with her family last year, until the pandemic forced the Games to be postponed, but her marked improvement in 2021 saw her spring a surprise at the US Trials to become the first Alaskan swimmer to ever make the American team.
Despite that result, she was still a major outsider heading to Tokyo but had looked in good form through the rounds and set a new personal best of 1:04.95 in the final to grab a shock win.
After Katie Ledecky’s defeat to Ariarne Titmus in Monday’s 400m freestyle final, it was a much needed first gold for the US women’s team in the pool, but rivals Australia continued their superb start as Kaylee McKeown broke the Olympic record to win the 100m backstroke ahead of Canada’s Kylie Masse and America’s Regan Smith, all three of whom had set new Olympic records in the heats.