High School Swimmer Reportedly Disqualified from Race Due to American Flag on Swim Cap

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Wearing an American flag on a swim cap was apparently enough to get a swimmer disqualified from a recent competition.

That’s according to the father of the swimmer, who posted a Twitter thread explaining what happened.

After a 200 Free Relay swim meet, the opposing coach asked to measure the size of the flag on the cap, which turned out to be in violation of competition rules.

The thread continued by explaining that he wears the cap to honor his late grandfather, who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11th.

Rules for swimming competitions are incredibly specific on the size of flags allowed on uniforms.

“One American flag, not to exceed 2 inches by 3 inches, may be worn or occupy space on each item of uniform apparel. By state association adoption, to allow for special occasions, commemorative or memorial patches, not to exceed 4 square inches, may be worn on the uniform without compromising its integrity,” says The National Federation of State High School Associations Swimming and Diving rule book.

Miller also believes that the size of a flag logo confers no competitive advantage.

swim cap with no flag, American flag
High school swim meet, with a competitor wearing a swim cap. (Getty Images)

Flag Cap Costs Team a Win

The affected school, Morristown High School in New Jersey, posted on Instagram seemingly expressing frustration with the opposing coach’s appeal.

As of late afternoon Friday, it was unclear how the opposing coach realized the flag didn’t meet regulations. Or why he thought to appeal for disqualification.

It’s not the first controversy with swimming caps in recent years.


But this one seems exceptionally petty. Why anyone would object to the size of a flag on a swim cap is confusing, to say the least.

The rules are almost certainly in place to prevent exceptionally large logos, but it’s extremely unlikely that wearing the flag conferred any kind of competitive advantage.

Miller believed that the limitations could be there to avoid political statements.

Either way, it’s a ridiculous reason to disqualify a high school swimmer from helping his school win. Instead of sportsmanship and respect, this shows a bewildering disregard for the flag and competitive fairness.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC


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  1. Sooo much here…

    * Headline is intentionally misleading — he was disqualified for a too large logo
    * The rule does appear to be nonsensical on its surface, but everyone knew the rules and this guy violated them — even if only by “a little”
    * Agree that the opposing coach is an ass — no advantage taken from a 0.2″ too large logo. I expect he knew the team would have to forfeit and took advantage of this silly loophole. “Win at any cost” is part of what’s wrong with the world today.

    and F*ck Joy Behar!!

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