Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - Seward senior Lydia Jacoby and Thunder Mountain High School sophomore Patrick Foy were named the outstanding female and male swimmers at Saturday’s 2021 State Swimming & Diving Championship at Bartlett High School.
“I am really pleased, but emotional in a way,” Jacoby said. “It is hard to believe my high school swimming is over but I am excited. It was a couple of really competitive and fun races. It’s really fun being back, seeing all my friends and getting to have this last run on high school swimming.”
Foy said he was overwhelmed.
“It was big. I was not expecting that,” Foy said of the honor. “I didn’t even know that existed. When the coaches said, ‘PJ go up there,’ I was like, ‘For what?’ I was just really happy to be up there with an Olympic gold medalist, that was so cool. I think that might have been one of my most favorite parts of the meet.”
Jacoby shared the honor with Homer’s Jillian Crooks, also a 2020 Summer Olympian (Cayman Islands).
Jacoby set a new state record in the girls' 100 breaststroke with 59.66 (beating her own old record set in 2019 of 1:00.61) and Crooks set a new state mark in the girls' 200 free with 1:49.85 (the old mark was East’s Meghan Cavanaugh, 2007, 1:50.02).
Jacoby also won the girls' 200 IM in 2:05.70 and Crooks won the girls' 100 free in 50.70.
Foy said he only talked briefly with Jacoby during the meet.
“A little bit, not much though,” he said. “I didn’t ask for any tips. We were both focused on our races.”
And, boy, did Foy focus.
Foy set a new mark for the 100 breast with a 55.45 effort, replacing the 21-year-old mark of 56.40 set by Soldotna’s Joshua Gemmell in 2000.
“I feel really good,” Foy said. “That was a good race. I really had my head in the game there.”
Foy crawled out of the pool after the record.
“I was tired,” he said. “I gave it my all. I had to do it for the team. I want to do the best I can. I want to work to the best of my ability. I want people to know what I can do.”
And Foy nearly broke another mark, winning the boys' 200 yard IM earlier in the day with a time of 1:50.55, just shy of the 1:50.08 set by Kodiak’s Talon Lindquist in 2017.
As big as the applauses were for those honors, even bigger were the responses from teammates, opponents and fans when Foy and Jacoby were announced.
“It means a lot,” Foy said. “I’m glad that I have so many people there with me. They are amazing, a great supporting team. My coaches (Josiah Loseby and Cody Brunette) really get me ready for my races, tell me what I need to do and before I get up on the blocks I focus on that and then I’m able to swim to the best of my ability. My teammates really get me in the right positive mindset to be able to swim my best.”
Foy said teammate and friend Jenny Chester told him before his races, “It doesn’t matter what I get as long as I try my best, that is the best I can do.”
Jacoby acknowledged the coaches that helped her reach this stage, including her high school coach Solomon D’Amico, Seward Tsunami swim club coach Meghan O’Leary, and Northern Lights Swim Club coach Ben Kitchen who helped train Jacoby when the Seward pool closed due to the pandemic. And the numerous club swimmers Jacoby met along the way.
“There’s a lot of people from around Alaska swimming that have coached me throughout my career,” Jacoby said. “I think it says a lot about Alaska swimming. I think it is really neat that all of our teams kind of work together to better all of our swimmers rather than always have it be a competitive thing.”
The pandemic resulted in the state championships last year being canceled but Jacoby substituted that with the U.S. Open. She said the spotlight of the Olympics doesn’t shine as bright on her at the state meet because of her friendships.
“It’s been really good,” she said. “I’ve known so many of these people. I’s a small community thing. I’ve known most of these people since I was like 10. Of course, there are still lots of people that come up and talk to me but it’s all good. It’s all been positive.”
With the Bartlett High School pool closing for the night and the last officials and participants trickling out into the night, Foy said he had one more thing to focus on.
“Having fun,” he said. “Celebrating. And then tomorrow, work is back on.”
Above - Seward's Lydia Jacoby and Thunder Mountain's Patrick Foy were named the outstanding female and male swimmers of the 2021 State Swimming & Diving Championship at Bartlett High School, Saturday, Nov. 6.
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