NC State Swimmer Stripped of Title For Celebrating With Teammate


Owen Lloyd of North Carolina State won the 1650 free at the ACC Championships over the weekend. Lloyd won with a personal best time of 14.37.04, which also earned him an auto-bid to the NCAA Championships. Or at least that's how it seemed for a brief moment as Lloyd was disqualified for crossing over into another lane while people were still swimming.

The ruling by the officials was met with universal disdain from everyone involved. Lloyd was crushed. The announcers sound sick and literally said they were on the verge of tears. And the person in the most awkward position was Lloyd's Wolfpack teammate Ross Dant, who finished second and was in the lane that Lloyd entered while celebrating. In his postrace interview with the ACC Network, he said that he would be giving the medal to Lloyd.

You can watch the end of the race and the harmless celebration that led to the DQ, and Dant's interview in this comprehensive breakdown from Buttstroke Swimming (I couldn't not note that channel name).

As someone who doesn't watch much competitive swimming, I'm prepared to offer an unbiased take here. First, the officials or judges or whoever were just doing their jobs. It was technically a violation of the rules. However, this is clearly one of those letter of the law versus spirit of the law things. The rule exists so that you don't interfere with an opponent, not because they want to keep swimmers from hugging their friends. Lloyd clearly didn't intefere with anyone here and no one ever would have said a word if they had just let this go.

By far the worst part of this is that Lloyd lost his bid to the NCAA Championships. Somebody should really make this right. I have no idea what channels exist to do that, but I'm sure the NCAA swimming community can sort it out.