He’s broken BYU records in four individual events—the 100-yard freestyle, the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, and the 200 medley—and as part of three different relay teams. Public relations student and All-American Jacob F. Taylor (’16) is probably the most accomplished BYU athlete whose name you don’t recognize—yet. And he’s one stroke closer to a shimmering dream, having qualified to compete in the Olympic trials for the 100- and 200-meter backstroke in June 2016.
At Mountain Crest High in Hyrum, Utah, Taylor broke school, pool, and state records. He was state champion seven times, swimmer of the year twice, and named an All-American 14 times. Yolanda Mendiola Bates (BA ’82, BA ’84), now a coach at BYU, has mentored Taylor since 2001. “The very essence of the 9-year-old Jake is still the same as the 23-year-old Jake,” she says. “He is still very competitive and very confident. He still wants to be the best.”