Owen Lloyd’s Celebration Leads to Title Loss

(Daily360.com) – A collegiate swimmer was stripped of his win due to a suspected rule violation and the second place finisher was not happy about it. Owen Lloyd of North Carolina State University finished in first place for the 1650-yard freestyle race at the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships on February 24th. He led the pack by a good distance, finishing with an impressive time of 14:37.04 and an easy victory.

Lloyd was elated and raised his arms in victory, while his teammate, Ross Dant, swimming in the adjacent lane, finished in second place, a few seconds behind Lloyd. Both having finished the race, the swimmers celebrated a bit and Lloyd hopped up on the swim lane divider. The dividing rope was unstable with Lloyd perched on it and as a result he fell off it and into Dant’s lane.

This move, which resulted in Lloyd falling into Dant’s lane cost Lloyd his victory and shifted it to the second place finisher, Dant. The NCAA has a rule that disqualifies a swimmer if they interfere with another swimmer during the race. This rule is written as being at “the discretion of the referee” but nonetheless Lloyd was disqualified.

Lloyd and Dant were finished, so ostensibly the race was over for each of them but swimmers in other lanes had yet to conclude. Dant was interviewed for television after the race and was angry about the decision. He said stripping Lloyd’s victory away was a result of “the dumbest rule in swimming” and said he would not stand on the first place finisher’s platform.

Dant said Lloyd was emotional and excited at that moment as he’d worked very hard to achieve such an impressive victory. Lloyd was captured on video after he was told of his disqualification, putting his face in his hands and slumping down, clearly overcome with the emotion of having just had his great victory stripped away on a technicality. The broadcasters agreed with Dant, saying that the rule was being misapplied in this instance.

Fans echoed that sentiment online and have lobbied to have Lloyd’s win reinstated. Lloyd posted to his social media accounts that he was angry and upset but “not defeated.” He assured his followers that his drive would not be lessened by this decision. He also wrote that he will take a lesson from what happened and be better in the future.

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