Freshman Feature: Jacob Clay

Inspired by CBS news’ “Everybody Has A Story” segment, in the Freshman Feature, we will use a random number generator to pick a freshman at Liberty to interview. Then we find out their story and share it with you. This issue, the random number generator picked 65: Jacob Clay.

Naia Willemsen, Spotlight Editor

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics coming up, it seems like the Olympics are on everybody’s brain. But very few people can say they’ve ever met an Olympian, and even fewer can say they know one. Jacob Clay, however, has the honor of being reminded to do his homework by an Olympian: his dad.
But not just any Olympian—an Olympic medalist. And not just in any event: he’s a medalist in the decathlon, the winner of which is considered to be the “World’s Greatest Athlete” since it requires so much versatility. Clay’s father, Bryan Clay, was a decathlete who won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, a silver one at the 2004 Olympics, and numerous medals at world championships.
According to Jacob, his father started track at a young age.
“His mom gave him the choice of swimming or track. He said he didn’t want to wear a speedo, so he chose track,” Clay said
But to Clay, he’s, well, Dad. Clay hasn’t followed in his father’s footsteps—at least, not in track. Instead, he chose the sport his dad didn’t: swimming.
Clay is a member of the Varsity Liberty’s Boys Swim & Dive Team, where he’s a very versatile athlete.
“Jacob can swim just about anything—he’s done some sprints and some distance, and he’s good at both of them,” swim coach Kris Daughters said.
Not only is he a member of Liberty’s varsity team, but he also competed at the district and state meets swimming multiple events.
Although Clay’s sport of choice is different than his father’s, that doesn’t mean the family sports expertise hasn’t been beneficial.
“I feel like my dad has used his knowledge to push me competitively,” Clay said. “He encourages me and gives me advice in swimming and other sports.”