USA Swimming Releases Statement on Transgender Athletes; Working with FINA to Develop Policy

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

USA Swimming Releases Statement on Transgender Athletes; Working with FINA to Develop Policy

Following the NCAA’s announcement that rules regarding transgender participation in college sports will be determined by individual sports’ national governing bodies, USA Swimming has released a statement announcing its plans for future policies regarding transgender athletes. Previously, USA Swimming has operated according to general IOC guidelines but has never unveiled its own specific policy. According to the statement, the organization expects FINA to “release a new policy shortly, which we will adopt for elite-level competitions.”

USA Swimming wrote that it has been “proactively working with FINA for several months to help shape and support their policy development efforts” because of an IOC directive to “create sport-specific eligibility requirements.” Once they are released, those new policies figure to guide swimming, including at the NCAA level.

Also in the statement, USA Swimming expressed its support for “inclusivity and the opportunity for all athletes to experience the sport of swimming in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity and expression” as well as “competitive equity.” That has been a point of contention in recent months as transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has competed in NCAA events amid cries that her involvement creates an unequal playing field.

Read the full statement from USA Swimming below:

“USA Swimming firmly believes in inclusivity and the opportunity for all athletes to experience the sport of swimming in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity and expression. We also strongly believe in competitive equity, and, like many, are doing our best to learn and educate ourselves on the appropriate balance in this space.

“In 2018, we established athlete inclusion procedures, which included both a process by which an athlete could change their competition category consistent with their gender identity and criteria for athletes qualifying for or competing in elite-level competitions (including those competition time qualifications such as Juniors, Nationals and U.S. Open), which adhered to previous International Olympic Committee guidelines. This policy also importantly provides for individual athlete consideration.

“The non-elite athlete inclusion procedures remain unchanged. Following broad transgender policy changes in Nov. 2021, the IOC now requires International Federations to create their own sport-specific eligibility requirements, and so we have been proactively working with FINA for several months to help shape and support their policy development efforts. We believe they will release a new policy shortly, which we will adopt for elite-level competitions.

“USA Swimming is a member-driven organization governed by a 15-member Board of Directors, which oversees more than 360,000 members–including coaches, volunteers and over 325,000 athletes from age-group level to the Olympic Team. These individuals and 2,800 member clubs participate through a network of 59 Local Swimming Committees (LSCs) in four geographic Zones across the U.S. With the NCAA now deferring to USA Swimming for eligibility determinations, we welcome and look forward to American NCAA athletes and coaches joining our membership in order to be eligible to be governed by our policy and its provisions and benefits.”

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Liz
3 months ago

I look forward to USA Swimming and FINA acknowledging the reality of female vs. male sex, prohibiting males from competing on women’s teams under any circumstance and returning fairness to women’s swimming.

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Laurie S
3 months ago
Reply to  Liz

Liz is 100% correct! Males cannot “identify” as females! It is unfair and discrimination against females to allow males to compete in the female category!

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Anonymous
3 months ago
Reply to  Liz

Agree

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Laurie S
3 months ago

What is “gender identity”? A feeling of being male or female? How does a male know what a female feels like? Why should a male who thinks he is a female compete against biological females? It is ludicrous to allow this insanity to continue! Human sex is binary and immutable. Males compete in the male category, and females compete in the female category. Allowing males to compete in the female category is discrimination against biological females! Create a new category for males who “identify” as anything except males. Don’t allow males to compete against females!!

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Esther
3 months ago

Thank you SwimmingWorld for covering this topic continuously. It’s a breath of fresh air reading your comment sections in contrary to another well-known swim press filled with censorship, jokes, and popcorn comments where people fear to clarify what they think. My support to you all.

And I’m still hoping for the day when people can refer back to biology rather than the meaningless ideology of identities.

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John
3 months ago

I have decided I shall identify as a 10 year old (a fraction of my age) and once I have successfully gained US citizenship all those 10 & under NAG records will be decimated!

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V
3 months ago

Perhaps they can make a transgender category for them to compete in!

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Aaron
3 months ago

If you’re born a male, you’re a male. Born a female, you’re a damn female. Can’t change it. If you’re miserable with living that way. Too bad. Life ain’t fair. Get over it.