Team USA’s Lydia Jacoby is speaking out after experiencing a mishap during the Olympic debut of the mixed 4x100m medley relay on Friday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Jacoby, who followed Ryan Murphy in the relay, was disrupted when her goggles slipped down beneath her nose after she dove into the water. During replay footage of the relay, the young swimmer appeared to be squinting as she continued to soldier on through her stroke to continue the relay.
The United States did not medal in the mixed 4x100m medley relay, placing in fifth while Great Britain took the gold with a world record time of 3:37:58.
Jacoby revealed after the race that this was a situation that she hadn’t faced as a swimmer.
“I’ve never really had that happen before,” Jacoby said, according to USA Swimming. “It’s out of my control at that point once I was in the water, so I just swam as best I could with what was happening at the moment.”
Her teammate, Murphy, came to her support, explaining that he thought the team’s relay performance was “solid.”
“The rest of the group did really well,” he said. “I’m really proud of Lydia (Jacoby) and how she handled those circumstances. Anyone who has swam with their goggles in their mouth, like she did — she did fantastic there. The rest of the relay did really nice as well.”
While the goggles might have caused a predicament during the mixed 4x100m medley relay, they still hold a special place in Jacoby’s heart. The swimmer has held onto her pair of pink goggles over the years after inheriting them from one of her athletic idols.
Former Olympian Jessica Hardy Meichtry revealed on Twitter earlier this week that she first met Jacoby five years ago when she hosted a swim clinic at the young athlete's home pool in Seward, Alaska after her swim team won a fundraising contest through the USA Swimming Foundation. The 34-year-old forged a connection with Jacoby's family and ended up giving Jacoby a pair of pink goggles that she'd worn during competition that have stayed with her all of these years.
Hardy Meichtry, who has a bronze and gold medal of her own from the 2012 London Olympics, saw Jacoby again in May after keeping in touch over the years and was able to give her a fresh pair of goggles after they went out of production.
Despite the mishap during Friday’s relay, the lucky goggles seem to be working otherwise!
Jacoby took home the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke on Monday, July 26. The young swimmer made history as the first Olympic gold medalist from Alaska, and only the 10th summer Olympian overall to hail from the state.