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Swimmer Stripped of ACC Title For a Celebration: Officials 'Ruining' Sport

A North Carolina State swimmer who was stripped of his Atlantic Coast Conference title over the weekend due to a celebrating with a teammate, claimed "grumpy old officials" were "ruining the sport of swimming" in a post shared on social media.

Senior Owen Lloyd, 22, who recorded a time of 14.37.04 during the 1,650-yard freestyle competition at the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday (February 24), shared a statement on his Instagram account following the controversy.

“Don’t stop celebrating. Embrace your emotions and let them flow. Sports are beautiful; the hard work, dedication, and commitment that goes into a single meet, game, match, race is oftentimes hidden. Swimming is no different and yet it is one of the only sports where we are sometimes told to bottle this up and not show how much a moment means to someone. If we want this sport that means so much to us to grow and expand beyond the limitations that are placed on it we should not inhibit these feelings. Let. Swimming. Be. Fun,” the post stated.

Lloyd celebrated with NC State teammate Ross Dant after the two finished first and second in the 1,650-yard freestyle competition, but was disqualified after officials ruled that he was "interfering with another swimmer" by falling into Dant's lane over the barrier as the competition continued.

“I think that’s the dumbest rule in swimming, Owen beat me fair and square," Dant said after being moved up to the first-place slot by disqualification during the live broadcast of the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships.

The NCAA rulebook states that “any competitor who interferes with another swimmer during a race shall be disqualified from that race, subject to the discretion of the referee," adding that "a swimmer who changes lanes during a heat shall be disqualified" in accordance with its guidelines. Lloyd was visibly upset by the decision on Saturday, claimed he was "not defeated" despite being "angry" and "confused."

“They can take away the points and the official win but they can never take away my drive, my passion, and my love for my team,” Lloyd wrote in an earlier Instagram post. “There are lessons to be learned and I’m sure I will find the silver linings in this experience but I know that I am not finished and that all of this just added more fuel to the fire. Thankful for everyone who supported, cheered, booed, and that have helped me get to where I am, we ain’t done yet.”

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