2023 U.S. World Trials Preview: Can Lydia Jacoby Continue Revenge Tour in 100 Breast?

2023 U.S. National Championships

Women’s 100 Breast – By The Numbers:

  • World Record: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.13 (2017)
  • American Record: World Record: Lilly King – 1:04.13 (2017)
  • U.S. Open Record: Jessica Hardy (USA) – 1:04.45 (2009)
  • 2022 U.S. International Team Trials Winner: Lilly King – 1:05.67
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 1:07.35

After missing last year’s U.S. International Team by less than a tenth of a second in the 100-meter breaststroke, reigning Olympic champion Lydia Jacoby has been on a revenge tour this year.

It started at the NCAA Championships in March, when Jacoby capped her freshman season at the University of Texas with a comeback victory in the 100-yard breast (57.03), lowering her 17-18 national age group (NAG) record along the way. Then at the Pro Swim Series stop in Westmont the following month, the 19-year-old Alaska native clocked a 1:06.09 to beat 2016 Olympic champion Lilly King and Annie Lazor, the two qualifiers in the 100-meter breast at last year’s World Trials.

Jacoby topped it off by throwing down a pair of sub-1:06 time on the Mare Nostrum Tour in May, a barrier she hadn’t broken since her Tokyo Olympic win two years ago (1:04.95). First she went 1:05.84 in Barcelona — the third-fastest time in the world this season behind only Tes Schouten (1:05.71) and Evgeniia Chikunova (1:04.92) — before proving it was no fluke with a 1:05.99 in Monte Carlo just a few days later.

A switch seems to have flipped for Jacoby in terms of her approach to the sport.

“Going into Olympic Trials and the Olympics, I was kind of a rookie and no one knew who I was,” Jacoby said at NCAAs. “I had the mentality of, ‘I’ve never done this — I have so many chances to do it.’ Then once I had done it, I kind of got in my head like, ‘I’ve done this — I have to do it again, I have to do it again.’ So I’ve just kind of switched that mentality around to, ‘I’ve done this, and I have nothing to prove.’ So just swimming freely is the biggest thing.”

Undefeated in the event this year, Jacoby is looking to make Indianapolis the next stop on her revenge tour later this month. But King, the defending champion in the event from last year’s Trials, might have something to say about that.

King has been trending in the opposite direction as Jacoby since last year’s Trials. She hasn’t been sub-1:06 since her 1:05.67 at last year’s Trials. After going 1:06.28 at the Pro Swim Series stop in Fort Lauderdale in early March, which ranks ninth in the world this season, she added time in Westmont (1:06.39) in April and Mission Viejo (1:06.67) in May. Still, though, it’s never smart to count out the 26-year-old world record holder.

The 1:07 Club

Jacoby and King are the only two Americans who have been sub-1:07 so far this year, but Kate Douglass nearly joined them with a personal-best 1:07.07 at the Atlanta Classic last month. The 21-year-old Virginia graduate shaved nearly a second and a half off her previous-best 1:08.51 from 2019 to become the third-fastest American in the 100 breast this season.

Douglass has said she trains for the 100 breast because it helps with her 200 breast, but it’s unlikely she’ll contest the event at Trials given her loaded schedule. It’s not completely out of the question, however, as she’d have no glaring event conflicts with the 100 breast final on the third day of Worlds (though her hypothetical 100 breast semifinal would take place soon after her 100 fly final on the second day).

The fourth-fastest American in the 100 breast this season is someone you’d probably never expect. Rachel Bernhardt, a 27-year-old Drexel graduate now working as an occupational therapist in North Carolina, recently clocked a personal-best 1:07.45 at the Martha McKee Open last month, taking .14 seconds off her previous best from 2019. Earlier this year, she went 1:08.03 at the Pro Swim Series stop in Fort Lauderdale.

Bernhardt could continue her surprising resurgence, but the more likely frontrunners for third place are Kaitlyn Dobler, Annie Lazor, and Alex Walsh. Dobler owns a season-best time of 1:07.63 from the Pro Swim Series stop in Mission Viejo last month, but the rising USC senior has been as fast as 1:06.19 at last year’s Trials, where she placed third.

The 28-year-old Lazor earned a runner-up finish at last year’s Trials in 1:06.12, but her season-best 1:07.74 from the Indy Spring Cup a few weeks ago was nearly two seconds slower than her time from last year’s meet. Walsh is a bit more of a question mark as she finished fifth at Trials last year in 1:07.59, but hasn’t contested the 100 breast so far this season. The rising Virginia senior dropped .64 seconds in the yards version of the 100 breast this past season.

Texas Ford Aquatics 25-year-old Miranda Tucker also went sub-1:08 with a 1:07.98 at the Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville in January, but she hasn’t been under the mark since then. She posted a 1:08.55 at April’s Pro Swim Series stop in Westmont before going 1:08.96 last month.

Best of the Rest

Keep an eye out for Stanford commit Lucy Thomas, the top breaststroker in the high school class of 2023, who broke 1:09 for the first time at last year’s Trials (1:08.98). A few months later, she fired off a 1:07.63 to win the 100 breast at Junior Nationals. Her season best sits at just 1:10.59 from last month’s Indy Spring Cup, but the 17-year-old could have a lot more left in the tank.

Another up-and-comer to watch is rising Virginia sophomore Emma Weber, who placed second behind Thomas at last year’s Junior Nationals with a 1:08.31. Her season best is a 1:09.05 from last month, but she’s been as fast as 1:07.62 back in 2021. This past NCAA season, she placed third in the 100-yard breast at the ACC Championships as a freshman.

Virginia teammate Anna Keating, a rising senior, is looking to build on her sixth-place showing at last year’s Trials. However, she’ll need a big drop to get back into the A-final as she hasn’t been sub-1:10 so far this season.

Indiana graduate Mackenzie Looze (1:08.83) and recent Ohio State grad Hannah Bach (1:09.36) will look to improve on their seventh- and eighth-place finishes at last year’s Trials. Their lifetime bests are both from 2021, with Looze having gone 1:08.42 and Bach registering a 1:07.89.

NC State’s Heather MacCausland and Ohio State’s Josie Panitz are aiming to break into the A-final at Trials after making the championship final at NCAAs as seniors this past spring. MacCausland went 1:08.90 at last year’s Trials, but has been as fast as 1:08.27 at the 2021 Olympic Trials. Panitz posted a 1:08.57 at last month’s Indy Spring Cup, less than a tenth off her personal-best 1:08.49 from last year’s meet.

SwimSwam’s Top 8 Picks:

Rank Swimmer Personal Best Season Best
1 Lydia Jacoby 1:04.95 1:05.84
2 Lilly King 1:04.13 1:06.28
3 Kaitlyn Dobler 1:06.19 1:07.63
4 Annie Lazor 1:05.37 1:07.74
5 Alex Walsh 1:07.59 N/A
6 Rachel Bernhardt 1:07.45 1:07.45
7 Lucy Thomas 1:07.63 1:10.59
8 Miranda Tucker 1:07.26 1:07.98


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Becky D
5 months ago

Will we see the highest average age for a women’s 100 breaststroke final?

Snowpipers of Alaska
5 months ago

Unfortunately, I don’t suspect Kate Douglass will choose to swim this event at Trials. She’ll have conflicts with both the 400 free and 100 back that day, and that’ll be a tough double for her as is. She deserves the extra rest as she tries to assault McIntosh’s record. Perhaps the Trials meet will run a time trials on Day 6 for versatile swimmers like Kate?

Reply to  Snowpipers of Alaska
5 months ago

LOL 😂!!!!

Reply to  Snowpipers of Alaska
5 months ago

i mean, she ain’t winning a 1 breast, but she’s probably the top 15 most versatile (very fast) swimmer in the world right now. I don’t know if that was a dig on kate so i’ll just assume you were being silly.

Last edited 5 months ago by Chris
Reply to  Snowpipers of Alaska
5 months ago

Which McIntosh record are you talking about? The 400 Free?

5 months ago

Might want to consider another dark horse—Piper Enge out of Bellevue. She was third at TYR Mission Viejo and has been on a tear.

Reply to  Snarky
5 months ago

Indeed. She’s been much faster than many of the above picks this season,1:08.8, and has a lifetime best of 1:08.1.

Summer is Titmus’ Sleep Paralysis Demon
5 months ago

Send King to 200br retirement, Lydia!


Lydia is a threat in the 100, not 200

Reply to  Chris
5 months ago

She is certainly a threat in the 200 after going 2:24 PB recently not shaved and tapered.

Sherry Smit
5 months ago

Don’t Looze sight of Mac Looze. Great breaststroker who’s having a great season.

Reply to  Sherry Smit
5 months ago

She retired

Sherry Smit
Reply to  TCC
5 months ago

Oof. took the L there. Ignore me lol

5 months ago

Jacoby is more on a revenge tour for her goggles falling off than she is for missing team last year

Reply to  Andrew
5 months ago

Her split with her goggles off was only 0.06 slower than her split with them on. I don’t think they really mattered lol

5 months ago

Kate Douglass – 1:07.07

Besides, Kate Douglass has nothing better to do on Day 4:

2023 Phillips 66 National Championships
Day 4 – Friday, June 30
400 FR
100 BR
100 BK


5 months ago

I recon Kaelyn gridley could potentially make the A final here. She got 2nd at the US open in the 100 and if she is to drop another second I think she could make it.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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