Breckyn Willis is a 17-year-old state championship swimmer who was told that she had been disqualified from the race in Anchorage, Alaska after she crushed her competition in the 100m freestyle race previously.
The decision was, reportedly, based on the “modesty rule”, and it is now being investigated by the Anchorage School District. Local coach Lauren Langford said that the 17-year-old was “targeted for the way the swimming suits fit a curvier and fuller-figured body”.
According to KTUU, Willis had worn the suit without any problems at three prior meets this season.
Willis, 17, left
The Anchorage School District said in a statement that the disqualification appears to stem from a difference of opinion in the interpretation of the rules governing high school swim uniforms.
The disqualified athlete was wearing the approved, school-issued suit during the rage, and the Dimond swim team has had no disqualifications related to the wear of the swim uniform.
West High School’s swimming coach Lauren Langford wrote a lengthy reply of the decision, and she said that the rest of her team was wearing the same uniform, and she was the only one disqualified.
The coach believes the swimmer has been targeted and singled out over the course of the last year.
She noted that Willis is just one of three girls on the Dimond team who look like her, and everybody else is in the same suit, sized to fit.
The coach told The Washington Post that even though the suits are cut the same way for all these girls, the only girl who got disqualified was a mixed-race girl with rounder, curvier features.
An official at the event claims that the referee that disqualified Willis claimed that she could see “butt cheek touching butt cheek” on Willis’ uniform, and the same referee is said to have also criticized Breckyn’s sister and her suit during the 2018-19 school year.
Luckily, the win by Breckyn Willis was restored Tuesday, less than an hour after a formal appeal by the Anchorage School District on behalf of the senior and her team.
The disqualification was called “heavy-handed and unnecessary”, asserting that the swimmer was targeted based solely on how a standard, school-issued uniform happened to fit the shape of her body.