2020 Tokyo Olympics: American Swimmer Lydia Jacoby Speaks Out After Unfortunate Goggles Mishap

by Amy Myers

Lydia Jacoby’s lucky pair of goggles quickly turned into a bad omen during the mixed medley relay race during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics yesterday. At the start of her breaststroke lap, her goggles fell off of her eyes and onto her mouth, forcing her to swim blind for the rest of the time. From the photo of the mishap, it seems the water might have pushed the top of her goggles down and off of their rightful place on her browbone.

Typically, this doesn’t happen to swimmers because the rubber guard around the plastic lenses creates a suction effect that seals the eyewear to their faces. Unfortunately for the young gold medalist, the goggles detached once she dove into the water.

Jacoby stated earlier during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that her bright pink goggles held a special place in her heart. As a gift from former Olympic swimmer, Jessica Hardy Meichtry, they’ve served as a good luck charm for her since childhood. Meichtry gave her the goggles (and a subsequent replacement pair) when they first met in Jacoby’s hometown in Alaska. According to Meichtry, the swimmer was there for a swim clinic that Jacoby’s swim team won through the USA Swimming Foundation. The two have kept in touch ever since.

Previously, in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Jacoby’s goggles helped her snag the gold medal for the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. However, this time, it seems the goggle’s charms wore off.

Teammates Support Jacoby Despite Mishap at 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Unfortunately, Team USA didn’t earn any medals off of the mixed medley relay in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The team placed fifth with Great Britain taking gold.

“I’ve never really had that happen before,” Jacoby reflected, regarding her goggles mishap. “I was definitely panicking a little. I could still breathe.”

She continued, “I think my turn was where it was most rough because I couldn’t see the wall but other than that, I feel like I pulled through. It was out of my control so I just swam as best as I could with what was happening at the moment.”

Unlike the 100-meter breaststroke, the mixed medley relay didn’t just rely on Jacoby’s strengths. In the inaugural 2020 Tokyo Olympics event, three other teammates–one woman and two men–would swim freestyle, butterfly and backstroke. Among Jacoby’s relay-mates was silver medalist Ryan Murphy, who swam backstroke for the race.

“I mean, anyone that’s swam with their goggles in their mouth, like she did, she did fantastic and the rest of the relay did really nice as well,” Murphy praised, adding that he was “really proud of how she handled those circumstances.”

Likewise, relay-mate and gold medalist Caeleb Dressel didn’t blame Jacoby for the team’s fifth-place finish. Dressel swam freestyle, the only male in the race to do so. After the results, Dressel expressed his displeasure with his own performance.

“The standard for the U.S. is gold and fifth place certainly doesn’t cut it,” he said. “I didn’t do my job, I wasn’t happy with my split.”