Alaska native Lydia Jacoby won over the hearts of Americans with her surprising gold medal finish in the 100-yard breaststroke in the summer Olympics in Toyko. Not only is the 17-year-old a talented swimmer, but she’s also a bluegrass musician.
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Most people wouldn’t think of bluegrass music being popular in Seward, Alaska, but Lydia Jacoby put bluegrass front and center in her post-win press conference.
“In my town (Seward), we used to have a bluegrass camp for kids every summer,” she said. “There’s a group of us that really enjoyed it, so our parents kind of brought us together.”
The bluegrass camp led to the formation of the Snow River String Band that had Lydia playing upright bass, guitar and singing. After Jacoby’s Olympic win, the Snow River String Band found itself in the spotlight as fans from around the world started searching for the band’s videos on YouTube.
“We played together for five or six years at different festivals in Alaska,” the Olympic champion said of the band that eventually went their separate ways as members went off to college.
Jacoby will start her senior year of high school next month then will head to college at the University of Texas on a scholarship. The swimmer told reporters that her college schedule is likely to keep her busy, but that music will remain an important part of her life.
“I still enjoy playing music,” Jacoby said. “It’s a great thing to do.”
Hear Lydia Jacoby and the Snow River String Band perform below.