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WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana, March 20. EARLIER today, one of the most procedure-oriented controversies one could imagine occurred involving a swimmer from Texas at the NCAA Division I Women's Championships. Instead of just requesting a sound bite from Texas head women's coach Kim Brackin, we asked for, and were granted, a personally-written statement from Brackin.
For some background on the issue, Lady Longhorn Kelsey Amundsen, who was invited to the meet by way of the Texas 400 free relay, drew a meet misconduct penalty by not showing up for the 100 free and the Texas staff failed to declare a false start for her. Typically, a meet misconduct is punished by ejection from the rest of the meet. Amundsen's invited event for the meet, however, was the 400 free relay and she must compete in that specific event to be an eligible swimmer at the meet.
Consequently, since she drew the meet ejection, Texas was unable to legally finish the 400 free relay this evening because Amundsen was not allowed to swim as part of it. Texas' appeal of Amundsen's disqualification was rejected, and Texas wound up scratching the 400 free relay for finals.
Additionally, since Amundsen swam the third leg of Texas' 14th-place 200 free relay on the first night and never competed in the event (the 400 free relay) that drew her into the meet's invitee list, she was ruled an illegible swimmer for the entire meet. Therefore, Texas's 200 free relay was disqualified according to an NCAA official. All other swims by Amundsen also were disqualified.
Kim Brackin's statement:
"Due to a clerical error by our staff, a declared false start was not turned in for Kelsey Amundsen in the 100 freestyle. Because it was not turned in, she was disqualified from participating on the 400 freestyle relay. Since Kelsey qualified for the meet on that relay, she was required to swim it. We were in a no-win situation where we were required to put her on the relay but could not. As a result, the 400 freestyle relay, and the 200 freestyle relay in which Kelsey competed on Thursday, have been disqualified.
In times of adversity, like this meet has been for our swimmers, I ask my athletes to remain focused on the moment, control only what they can control and do their best to push through rough spots; that is the lesson of sport. Our swimmers and divers have done an exceptional job following that advice and will certainly learn and grow from this experience. I am extremely proud of all 13 women here for the resilient attitude they have shown. As a staff, we certainly could have done a better job with that same challenge but, like those athletes, we'll learn from the unfortunate mistake and hold ourselves to a higher standard in the future."
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