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.
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.
“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.