World Swimming Coaches Association issues position against inclusion of trans athletes

'Swimming should choose to offer competition in which the female category is protected for reasons of competitive fairness.'

World Swimming Coaches Association issues position against inclusion of trans athletes
AP Photo/John Bazemore
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Biologically male athletes who identify as women should not be allowed to participate in sports against women, the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) declared in a lengthy report released this week.

The WSCA’s position statement on transgender swimming comes amid the controversy involving Lia Thomas, a biologically male transgender athlete who participated in and won the NCAA Championship in March.

Thomas’ victory came just a year after competing as a male. The organization said that allowing trans athletes to compete will destroy any competitive balance for participating women.

“The World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) has an unequivocal agenda for the sport of swimming to be experienced in an environment where everyone can partake in the sport and where everyone is treated with both dignity and respect,” the letter began. “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 (whether with or without the involvement of testosterone suppression).”

“This is the primary factor to be considered in an endeavor to balance fairness with inclusion,” the group stated.

“For the sport of swimming, the inclusion of transgender people on the grounds of fairness cannot co-exist in the current competitive model,” read the statement. “Swimming should choose to offer competition in which the female category is protected for reasons of competitive  fairness.”

The group suggested that it was necessary to introduce a new and different model in the sport as an alternative option to meet the needs of trans athletes. It stated that categorization through birth sex “remains to be the most useful and function division relative to sporting performance.”

“This categorization acknowledges the broad range of significant performance differences between the sexes,” the letter explained. “Hence, the sport of swimming should retain traditional sex categorization - in association with age and, where appropriate, disability – whilst finding a model of inclusion for transgender athletes.”

“Evidence indicates that it is fair for transgender people to be included in the sport of swimming either within a Male category and/or as athletes racing within a Male category but additionally entered within an ‘Open’ category,” the group said. “This assumes that the transgender person will often be using testosterone supplementation, for which a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) will always be required under anti-doping rules that must apply evenly to all athletes in competitive swimming, regardless of category.”

The WSCA said it is committed to finding ways to include transgender athletes, possibly by creating a “trans division,” but remains adamant that biological males not be allowed to compete against women.

The Lia Thomas controversy prompted several U.S. states to create legislation excluding biological males from participating in women’s sports. Additionally, Republicans in both chambers of Congress sought to prohibit schools that receive federal funds from allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports, the Daily Wire reported.

In March, the Women of Arizona Swimming & Diving and numerous Olympians and athletes called on the NCAA to protect women’s sports and ban biological males from competing against women, Rebel News reported.

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