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Lydia Jacoby, Leon Marchand post statement swims at Pro Series

Reigning Olympic champion Lydia Jacoby pushes past former Olympic champion Lilly King to win the 100-meter breaststroke at the TYR Pro Swim Series event at Westmont, IL.

It’s clear that a bounce-back year is on Lydia Jacoby‘s mind after the Olympic 100m breaststroke champion swam her best time since the Tokyo Games on Thursday night.

The Alaskan won a 100m breast over 2016 Olympic gold medalist Lilly King at a Pro Series meet in Westmont, Illinois.

Jacoby, now a University of Texas freshman, clocked 1 minute, 6.09 seconds, overtaking King by three tenths. Moments later, she correctly pointed out in a poolside broadcast interview that it was her fastest since her breakout Olympic title.

At last year’s world championships trials, Jacoby placed fourth and missed the team by nine hundredths of a second.

But Thursday’s time would have placed second at last year’s trials, a sign that Jacoby is primed for this year’s nationals in June, the qualifying meet for July’s world championships in Japan.

SWIMMING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Also Thursday, Frenchman Léon Marchand won a 400m individual medley showdown among the three medalists from last year’s world championships.

Marchand, the reigning world champion, touched in 4:07.80 to distance world silver medalist Carson Foster by 1.89 seconds. Chase Kalisz, the Olympic champion and world bronze medalist, was 5.26 seconds behind.

Marchand, a 20-year-old Arizona State sophomore, swam the second-fastest 400m IM of his life. He was only faster at last year’s worlds, where he had the second-fastest time in history and rattled Michael Phelps’ last remaining individual world record.

Marchand was 2.58 seconds faster on Thursday than he was at a corresponding Pro Series meet early last spring. That’s a sign that he could be faster at July’s worlds than he was at last year’s worlds, where he was under Phelps’ world record pace through 350 meters and fell 44 hundredths behind it.

Marchand is coached by Phelps’ career-long coach, Bob Bowman, and coming off an undefeated NCAA season.

The Pro Series meet continues Friday, live on Peacock.

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