ANCHORAGE- On Friday, September 6th, a high school swimmer was disqualified from her race because of the fit of her suit. Many people viewed this call as discriminatory and it has caused a huge dispute in the swimming community.
The competitive swimmer, Breckynn Willis, won her event and then was told that she was disqualified because the back of her swimsuit showed too much skin. All of the other girls on her team had the exact same suit and yet, she was the only one to be disqualified.
Willis is curvier than the average swimmer and finding a race suit that doesn’t ride up is nearly impossible. Swimsuits only come in one style and even the bigger sizes do not account for women with a fuller body.
Many people believe that the fit of the suit is not the swimmer’s fault and that Willis should not be punished for something out of her control. But no one is more invested than Lauren Langford, the Director of YMCA Aquatics and a coach for West High School’s swim team.
In a reply to this incident Langford wrote, “These young swimmers aren’t being punished for wearing their suits in scandalous or provocative ways, but rather, because their ample hips, full chests, and dark complexions look different than their willowy, thin, and mostly pallid teammates… The obstacles these teens face has created a culture of tension and fear on pool decks all over the state. Girls of all shapes, sizes, and races are worrying about their suits like never before (Medium.com).”
Langford is absolutely correct because this incident is no longer confined to just Alaska, but rather, on all pool decks over the entire USA. It has even reached our school’s co-op swim team.
The girls have been told by officials, at multiple swim meets, that they would be cracking down on the rules. This causes many of the girls to be in a constant state of worry that they will get disqualified before they even step on the block.
When asked about this incident Sophia Korfmacher, a senior swimmer from Lakeshore High School, said, “It’s very unfair that a girl was disqualified over the fit of her swimsuit. Sometimes when you dive off the block your suit rides up and you have no control over that. It’s affecting all of us personally and I feel that I am being judged for my swimsuit everytime I walk on the pool deck.”
With all of the pressure on girls to have appropriate suits there is a possibility that their performance could be affected.
pic credit: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/swimming/2019/09/12/teenage-swimmer-disqualified-looked-swimsuit-far-familiar-example/