Swim Coaches Recommend a Transgender Division for Athletes

'[T]he inclusion of transgender people into female sports cannot be balanced with fairness due to the retained differences in strength, stamina and physique,' the World Swimming Coaches Association's statement reads.

Image Credits: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images.

The World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) is recommending that FINA, a governing body for aquatic sports, create a transgender division to account for men’s biological advantages over women. 

“FINA and its aquatic disciplines are also a pillar of the Olympic Movement and give a decisive contribution to the success of the Games,” the body states on its website.

WSCA concludes in its statement, “For the sport of swimming, the inclusion of transgender people on the grounds of fairness cannot co-exist in the current competitive model.” 

“Swimming should choose to offer competition in which the female category is protected for reasons of competitive fairness,” the association further states

The statement was published nearly two months after collegiate swimming was thrust into the national spotlight after transgender athlete Lia Thomas became the first openly trans-athlete to win a national title.

Thomas was eligible to compete as a biological man despite newly adopted standards by USA Swimming in an attempt to level the playing field while balancing inclusivity.

Campus Reform spoke with female athletes in January who echoed similar concerns about physical differences. The athletes all said that despite intense training, they are unable to compete against men because of biological differences.

The WSCA statement addresses such “retained differences” despite the “involvement of testosterone suppression.” 

The passage reads: 

“[T]he inclusion of transgender people into female sports cannot be balanced with fairness due to the retained differences in strength, stamina and physique that are present when comparing the average female with the average transgender female/non-binary person who was assigned male at birth (whether with or without the involvement of testosterone suppression).”

WCSA is advising one of two options. 

One option would name a “female” category and a separate “open” category, while another option would create three categories specified as “female,” “male,” and “open.”

Relatedly, Campus Reform has reported that 17 states have passed legislation requiring athletes to compete based on their biological sex. 

Last week, Campus Reform reported that Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed her state’s “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” and that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is threatening to veto his state’s equivalent legislation. 

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