TOKYO, Japan — An American won gold in the women's 100-meter breaststroke, just not the one everyone was expecting.
Evansville native Lilly King came into the event as the defending Olympic champion, having won gold in Rio in 2016, but it was 17-year-old Lydia Jacoby from Seward, Alaska, that took home the gold medal in these Games.
King, an IU alum, led for much of the first 50 meters of Monday night's race, but gave up the lead to Tatjana Schoenmaker just before the turn, trailing the South African by .30 seconds as they headed for home, with Jacoby just a tick behind her. As the two leaders battled, Jacoby surged ahead in the final 20 meters for the gold.
Jacoby, the first Alaskan to ever make a U.S. swimming team, won with a time of 1:04.95, .27 seconds ahead of Schoenmaker. King touched the wall in 1:05.54.
After the race, Jacoby was embraced by Schoenmaker, then got a big hug from King, who raised the teen's arm into the air.
"This kid just had the swim of her life and I'm proud to be her teammate," King told NBC after the race.
King will have another chance to medal in the women's 200-meter breaststroke. Preliminaries in that event will be held Wednesday evening in Tokyo, about 6:30 a.m. in Indianapolis.