Neighbors of 17-year-old Alaskan swimmer who won a shocking gold medal tell tourists she trains with whales and sea lions

·2 min read
Lydia Jacoby Sea Lion
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images, Daniel Knighton/Getty Images
  • Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old swimmer, pulled a shocking upset to win gold at the Olympics.

  • Jacoby is from a small town in Alaska called Seward, where she is a local hero. 

  • The townspeople in Seward often joked that Jacoby trained with whales and sea lions. 

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Lydia Jacoby shocked the world when the 17-year-old swimmer surged late to win gold at the women's 100-meter breaststroke in one of the biggest upsets of the Tokyo Olympics.

-#TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 27, 2021

 

The victory only added to Jacoby's legend in her hometown of Seward, Alaska, where the locals joke that she trains alongside arctic sea mammals in the sea since the town only has one pool for training. 

Judy Odhner, who co-owns a cafe in the town, told NBC News that the Seward locals get away with telling tourists some interesting myths about Jacoby's training regimen. 

Video: This is a 317,000 gallon pool

"They can't believe our teeny-weeny town has a pool," Odhner said. "They'd just as easily believe Lydia trains every day out there with the whales and sea lions. So we went with it. I mean, Lydia's a real Alaska girl, so it's believable."

Jacoby's legend in Seward won't be fading any time soon after her victory. 

During the race, a crowd of Jacoby's friends, classmates, neighbors, and family members watched her competition on a giant screen in a railroad terminal. As she surged past the favorite during the final stroke, the crowd exploded with excitement as they watched their neighbor, the first Olympic swimmer from Alaska, pull off a stunning gold-medal performance.

 

At just 17 years of age, Sewall will surely have plenty more of Jacoby to watch in the coming years. As tourists and journalists come in and out of the town to inquire about her backgrounds, who knows what other anecdotes they'll serve up?

 

 

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