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Kentucky swimmer who tied Lia Thomas supports calls for separate ‘Trans Division’

A Kentucky swimmer who competed against controversial transgender athlete Lia Thomas is hailing the World Swimming Coaches Association for demanding a separate “Trans Division” in competitions.

University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines — who tied Thomas for fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle NCAA championships — told Fox News that it was “great” that groups like the WSCA were seeking change.

Trans swimmers like Thomas have an unfair advantage in the pool because it “requires things like your power and your stamina and your strength and endurance, all these things that women are just typically disadvantaged at over men,” Gaines told “America’s Newsroom.”

“To pretend otherwise defies logic, reason, science and common sense, quite frankly,” she told the outlet, saying that it was “just night and day difference between male and female” in the pool.

“I think it’s great that we have these small governing bodies willing to come out and make these statements,” she said of the coaches’ group.

University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines on Fox News.
Lia Thomas holds a trophy next to another swimmer
Penn Quakers swimmer Lia Thomas holds a trophy after finishing fifth in the 200 free at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

However, she stressed that “the decision ultimately lies in these bigger organizations” like the NCAA, FINA and the International Olympic Committee.

“How many small governing bodies is it going to take before these bigger organizations listen?” she asked.

The WSCA released its “Position Statement on Transgender Swimming” last week, saying the option for a dedicated “Trans Division” had “received overwhelming support” from its members.

The association stressed that it had an “unequivocal agenda” to ensure “everyone is treated with both dignity and respect.”

“However, the inclusion of transgender people into female sport 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,” the group’s statement argued.

The group insisted that the separation would not be a drastic overhaul given how many divisions there already are.

Lia Thomas gives a media interview after the preliminary heats of the 500 Yard Freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championship.
Lia Thomas gives a media interview after the preliminary heats of the 500 Yard Freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship.
Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

“On the typical club team, age-group athletes, elite athletes, Special Olympians, and Paralympic athletes all share the same practice pool,” the group said.

“They train together every day for weeks, then go their separate ways for their competitions.

“It could be precisely the same for our Trans Athletes. 99% of the year, every athlete trains together. 1% of the year, they attend their appropriate competitions,” the WSCA stressed.

“A coach’s historical role has been to expand the sport and create the best competitive opportunities for our athletes. The ‘Trans situation’ affords us the same opportunity.

“We must protect female sports, but we must endeavor to create fair competition for everyone,” it said.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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