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NC State swimmer has ACC title stripped after officials say he ‘interfered’ with teammate during celebration



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Owen Lloyd’s ACC championship celebration was extremely short-lived, as he was stripped of his title for an obscure technicality.

The N.C. State swimmer won the men’s 1650-yard freestyle ACC title on Saturday night, but almost immediately after touching the wall first, he was no longer the champion.

That’s because after the race, during his celebration, he propelled himself on top of the lane divider in which his own teammate, Ross Dent, was next to him. Lloyd sat on top of the divider and let out a victorious scream, all while a proud Dent, who finished second, pointed at him in celebration.


NCAA banners hang before the start of the Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on March 24, 2023, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Carlos Gonzalez/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The NCAA, however, ruled that by mounting the divider, despite Dant being finished with his race, Lloyd “interfered with another swimmer,” stripping him of his title and giving it to Dant.

The incident occurs at roughly the 14:55 mark of the video below. 

Lloyd was emotional after the race, all while the crowd booed the new results.

In his post-race interview, Dant noted that swimmers must stay in their own lane until the race is complete – but he said it’s the “dumbest rule in swimming” in a strong defense of his teammate.

NCAA flags

The NCAA rulebook says, “A swimmer who changes lanes during a heat shall be disqualified…” (Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

“Owen beat me fair and square. He should be on that podium. He was excited. That was a huge win for him. He earned that, and that’s his emotion,” Dant said. “That’s what we get in the sport of swimming when we do well. We train all year for a moment like that, and to have him disqualified is the dumbest thing ever. He works so hard every day. 


“He is gonna be on the No. 1 trophy. I am not going to stand up there.”


Section 5 of the NCAA rulebook reads as follows:

“Any competitor who interferes with another swimmer during a race shall be disqualified from that race, subject to the discretion of the referee…

“A swimmer who changes lanes during a heat shall be disqualified… 

“A team representative or spectator who enters the water in the area in which a race is being conducted before all contestants have completed the race may disqualify all of their team’s entrants in that race.”

View of swim meet

The competition pool during the Division III Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center on March 18, 2023, in North Carolina. (Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)


N.C. State athletic director Boo Corrigan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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