An Alaska high school is currently in the news because a half Black swimmer was promptly stripped of her win for a “uniform violation,” which has caused an uproar online with people citing body shaming, sexism and racial discrimination as the referees reason.
Breckynn Willis, 17, had taken part and won a 100-meter freestyle state championship race at Dimond High School in Anchorage Friday evening. Upon her rising up from the water, she was disqualified on the spot by the referee because he could allegedly see “buttt cheek touching buttt cheek.”
Viralmula.Com gathered that According to the National Federation of High Schools rules, all swimmers are required to wear a one-piece suit to “cover their buttocks.” Willis was wearing a swimsuit assigned to her by the team.
Also None of the other girls who were white and also wearing the same school-distributed outfit as Willis were flaged for violations.
“We have a term for it — it’s called a suit wedgie, and if you’ve ever been a swimmer, you’ve had one,” said Lauren Langford, Director of YMCA Aquatics and coach for West High School’s swim team. “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.”
KTUU-2 reports Willis’ younger sister, Dreamer Kowatch, who is also a budding swimming star, had a run-in with the same referee. The ref openly lambasted her suit’s fit during a meet.
In August, the National Federation of State High School Associations notified coaches about a rule change that allows athletes to be disqualified if a uniform is not within guidelines. A change of attire would also delay the race.
The Anchorage School District confirmed the suit Willis was wearing was approved and considered to be in compliance. That same swimsuit had been used without incident at three prior meets this season.
The Anchorage School District is also investigating the incident, saying they would not tolerate any actions that “discriminate” or “target” student athletes in a statement.