A teenage swimmer had her win reinstated after her school received intense backlash for disqualifying her over her swimsuit.
Breckynn William, a 17-year old competitive swimmer from Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, was left heartbroken after she was disqualified from her schools’ 100-metere freestyle event, despite coming in first place. But the reason behind her expulsion makes things even worse. School administrators thought her one-piece swimsuit was too revealing and thus marked it as a “wardrobe violation.”
The decision sparked intense controversy, understandably, especially since Breckynn’s swimsuit was a school issued one, which all the girls on her team are required to wear. The teen had also worn the exact swimsuit to other meets during the season and there was never an issue before.
Many feel that Breckynn’s curvier physique than her competitors led school administrators to deem the outfit inappropriate. Even her coaches, however, called the decision ‘sexist.’
“It is my opinion that she has been targeted and singled out over the course of the last year. It comes down in my opinion to the race thing. It was so targeted. It was so intentional, and so individual,” one of the coaches, Laura Langford, said. “All of these girls are all wearing suits that are cut the same way. And the only girl who gets disqualified is a mixed-race girl with rounder, curvier features.”
Along with the help of the swim team, Breckynn’s lead coach DeWayne Ingram launched an appeal, which led the Anchorage School District to begin an investigation into the matter. Investigators eventually concluded it was discriminatory to disqualify Breckynn based on how her suit fits her body and demanded her win be reinstated.
The Alaska School Activities Association has since declared the incident was a ‘misapplication’ of the rule. They even admitted the official who made the call should have brought the issue up with her coach before the beginning of the competition.
“The Anchorage School District has concluded that our swimmer was targeted based solely on how a standard, school-issued uniform happened to fit the shape of her body,” the district said, Daily Mail reports. “We cannot tolerate discrimination of any kind and certainly not based on body shape. This disqualification was heavy-handed and unnecessary.”
The school district is also pushing to have the employee in question de-certified and for the rule regarding swimmer’s outfits to be revised. This isn’t the first time the anonymous official has disqualified out a female swimmer based on her appearances. In fact, during the last school year, the employee also had a problem with Breckynn’s sister Dream Kowatch’s outfit.