ASAA evaluating rule, judge certification following swimsuit controversy

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The controversy over the disqualification of a Dimond High School swimmer over the fit of her swimsuit is still making waves, with some big decisions coming up in the coming weeks.

[RELATED: Victory for Breckynn Willis, as ASAA reinstates her win]

Included in that is determining whether or not the judge who initially made the call will be decertified as an official.

On Friday, Dimond and South faced off in a dual meet, but behind the cheers remained controversy over the rules and regulations regarding athletes' attire.

"The request for the dismissal of the official was on the grounds that she was not being impartial," said Billy Strickland of the Alaska State Activities Association. "I know this has caused stress among other swim and dive officials, to some degree people no longer feeling like they can 'risk' volunteering."

[RELATED: High school swimmer disqualified over fit of school-issued swimsuit]

This comes after state champion swimmer Breckynn Willis was disqualified by Jill Blackstone over the fit of her school-issued swimsuit. A few days after the call was made, the Anchorage School District maintained there was bias in the call and requested that action be taken against the volunteer judge who made the decision, a slow but steady process over the past few weeks.

"I had a request to decertify the official on Sept. 10 due to some obligations of them," Strickland said. "And we weren't able to meet until Sept. 23."

Strickland said the ASAA met with Blackstone this past week to discuss the future. He said there is also increased focus on the specific rule she enforced.

"A lot of people believe the issue is with the rule itself, not an official making a call, but the rule that is in place," Strickland said. "We look to modify or eliminate the rule, and that has been added to the agenda for the coming board meeting."

Blackstone said via phone Friday that the experience has been emotionally tolling. She has a week to respond to the ASAA, which said it's also received dozens of emails supporting her decision and contributions to the swimming community over the years.

"Ultimately, they should be able to officiate in a manner that they're not going to be publicly scrutinized," Strickland said, "or accused on social media or whatnot for basically doing their job."

Still, ASD clearly stated Blackstone was biased in her application of the rule in its request for a reversal of the call. Her certification remains in question.

[RELATED: Victory for Breckynn Willis, as ASAA reinstates her win]

The next ASAA board meeting is set for this coming Monday and Tuesday. Strickland said it's likely the board will ask him to send a notification that certain swim and dive bylaws may be changed.

"I think the rule as it is written puts officials in an awkward position," he said, "and there is probably, in Alaska, a better way to go about doing that."

Another meeting will take place Dec. 9 and 10, after the swim season is completed.

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