Exclusive Content:

‘The dumbest rule in swimming’: College swimmer stripped of title after celebrating with teammate

Owen Lloyd and the NC State swimming team celebrate with the ACC team title. Owen Lloyd/Instagram

A swimmer’s disqualification on a technicality after winning a college conference final has led to one teammate branding the decision as the “dumbest rule in swimming.”

Owen Lloyd, a senior at North Carolina State University, clinched the 1,650-yard freestyle title at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships at the end of February, but was promptly stripped of his title after climbing into the adjacent lane to celebrate with teammate Ross Dant, who finished in second, before the other swimmers had touched the wall.

The meet’s head referee implemented Rule 2, Section 5 of the NCAA rulebook, which states that “a swimmer who changes lanes during a heat shall be disqualified,” leading to Lloyd’s disqualification.

CNN reached out to NC State, who deferred to the ACC, and the NCAA for comment.

Winning the ACC Championship title would have booked Lloyd a spot at the NCAA Championships in the event.

“I think that’s the dumbest rule in swimming,” Dant told the ACC Network. “Owen beat me fair and square, he should be on that podium. He was excited. That’s a huge win for him, right? He earned that. He earned that, and that’s his emotion.

“That’s what we get in the sport of swimming when we do well. We train all year for a moment like that, and to have him disqualified I think is the dumbest thing ever. He works so hard every day. He is going to be on that No. 1 trophy. I am not going to stand up there.

“I think the rule makes sense if you’re interfering with a swimmer that is still racing,” Dant added to The Athletic. “But there should be a caveat to the rule where it’s ‘not interfering with a swimmer’s ability to complete the race’ or something like that.

“He didn’t interfere with my lane because I was already done, and everyone else around us was done as well. Him getting into my lane would not have affected the person in lane six.”

Lloyd was visibly distraught by the decision, sitting by the side of the pool in tears after the decision was announced over the speaker system.

“I just started crying because I was so upset that all that hard work had been kind of taken away from me by such a strange situation,” Lloyd told The Athletic.

“That was a huge moment for me to become an ACC champion after really kind of climbing up the ranks throughout the team, throughout the conference and nationally, as well. I’ve seen people get on the lane line before and I didn’t think twice about it when I did it there.

“It happened to be unfortunate that in the mile, where there’s the opportunity to pull ahead farther, that someone was still swimming. That did not cross my mind at all that potentially I’d be disrespecting them or showing emotion that I shouldn’t while they were still racing. I was kind of just letting it flow.”

Dant later handed the first-place medal to Lloyd in the stands, according to The Athletic, with Lloyd saying the ACC Championship title is now in his bedroom.

The incident has drawn widespread criticism, with Fox reporter Will Kunkel calling the decision “outrageous.”

“Can we not have some discretion here?” he asked on X. “This is so sad and stupid.”

Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, who was the color commentator for the race, questioned why the referee didn’t appear to be enforcing rules as rigorously in other races.

“I am a rule follower,” she said in a video posted to X, formerly Twitter. “I love a rule because I love to follow it – my problem with this whole thing has been: if you’re going to call that, you need to call everything.

“Not five minutes after all this hot mess happened, there were backstrokers that were diving into the pool. Why is that a problem? The rule states backstrokers must enter feet first.

“So if you called Owen Lloyd for celebrating and ‘interfering’ – which he did not – you gotta call the backstrokers for diving in, which you did not. So if you’re going to call one, you call them all. That has been my problem with this whole thing.”

The 2024 NCAA Division 1 championships will take place at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, between March 27 and 30.

Latest

World’s best airline for 2024 named by Skytrax

Human beings weren’t designed to fly through the sky...

Euro 2024: Mattia Zaccagni’s last-gasp equalizer sends Italy through to knockout stages and breaks Croatia hearts

Mattia Zaccagni’s last-minute stunner earned Italy a 1-1 draw...

Netanyahu defends decision to go public with complaint about US weapons supplies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his decision to go...

A year ago, her engagement ring vanished at a hospital. She still cherishes the man who gave it to her

Faye Bauman was wearing her diamond ring when she...

Newsletter

spot_img

Don't miss

World’s best airline for 2024 named by Skytrax

Human beings weren’t designed to fly through the sky...

Euro 2024: Mattia Zaccagni’s last-gasp equalizer sends Italy through to knockout stages and breaks Croatia hearts

Mattia Zaccagni’s last-minute stunner earned Italy a 1-1 draw...

Netanyahu defends decision to go public with complaint about US weapons supplies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his decision to go...

A year ago, her engagement ring vanished at a hospital. She still cherishes the man who gave it to her

Faye Bauman was wearing her diamond ring when she...

Bizarre own goal helps Portugal qualify for Euro 2024 knockouts after victory against Turkey

A bizarre own goal from Turkey’s Samet Akaydin helped Portugal qualify...
spot_imgspot_img

World’s best airline for 2024 named by Skytrax

Human beings weren’t designed to fly through the sky at 40,000 feet in a pressurized metal tube – with our aching limbs, burbling gastric systems and...

Netanyahu defends decision to go public with complaint about US weapons supplies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his decision to go public about delays in the supply of weapons from the United States, saying months of...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here