Well, that's super cool. American Olympic swimmer Lydia Jacoby from Alaska has been a fan favorite for the last week or so and surprisingly took gold metal home for the United States in the 100-meter breaststroke, a gold medal at the Summer Games on July 27th and only the 10th Alaskan ever to compete. She is also one of the youngest female swimmers to ever win gold. She also helped win silver in the 4 × 100 medley relay.
Lydia Jacoby later made headlines during the mixed 4 × 100 season when she took a dip in the pool for the breaststroke portion of the race and struggled through her goggles that slipped from her eyes to her mouth and face. She could have given up entirely or stopped fixing them, but instead she kept fighting and still putting down a decent staggering time. The US team finished fifth in the race.
But that's not all that is remarkable about this Alaskan prodigy. She also plays bass violin and has been singing in a bluegrass outfit in Anchorage called the Snow River String Band for the past six years, which has performed at the Anchorage Folk Festival and elsewhere in Alaska. Lydia Jacoby also plays guitar.
"In my town (Seward) we had a bluegrass camp for children every summer," Jacoby said at an Olympic press conference after winning gold. “There's a group of us who really enjoyed it, so our parents kind of brought us together. We played together at different festivals in Alaska for five or six years. "
Since the reveal, people have looked up Lydia Jacoby and the Snow River String Band videos online. It's not Billy Strings, but it's not bad for a young woman who has been training in the pool for hours for the Olympics for years.
The Snow River String Band officially no longer exists because the respective members have upcoming college engagements, and of course Lydia Jacoby is in Tokyo right now. One interesting note, however, is that Jacoby has pledged to attend the University of Texas at Austin from the fall of 2022 to compete on the university's swim team, and is also interested in studying fashion design. Don't be surprised with Austin's rugged (if beleaguered) music scene if it continues to pursue its musical passion for years to come.
“I still enjoy making music,” she says. "It's a great thing."
Who knows, maybe in the future the Olympic champion Lydia Jacoby will perform at a bluegrass festival near you. She is a great example of how music, and bluegrass specifically, are a great way to build character and discipline in young people in ways that can help them go beyond plucking wood and wire.