'Unfair': Female swimmers discuss biological disadvantages compared to Lia Thomas, UPenn's male swimmer on women's team
Campus Reform spoke with female college swimmers about their feelings on the Lia Thomas controversy.
In protest of Thomas, a USA Swimming referee resigned in protest of the unfair conditions.
Cynthia Millen, a USA Swimming referee, recently resigned her post in protest of University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) swimmer Lia Thomas, born as Will Thomas, a transgender athlete who has stirred up controversy after dominating the sport on the women's team.
Up until November 2019, Thomas competed as a male in the NCAA, which “mandate[s] at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment to be eligible to compete as a woman,” according to the New York Post.
Now competing as a female, Thomas has been able to break school records with ease, causing student athletes, and professional athletes to speak out.
In an interview on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Millen explained that when it comes to swimming, “[b]odies compete against bodies. Identities do not compete against identities.”
Millen also explained the main differences between male and female swimmers. For example, "boys will always have larger lung capacity, larger hearts, greater circulation, a bigger skeleton, and less fat."
These biological advantages put Thomas ahead of female competitors.
Students from UPenn and beyond are also standing up against the unfairness of men being allowed to play in women’s sports.
According to the Daily Mail, some of Thomas’ teammates at UPenn almost boycotted their final home meet in protest of the transgender athlete but chose not to “for fear that it would keep them out of the Ivy League championship, where the team's top 17 swimmers - out of a total of 41 - will compete in February.”
“There's also expectation that the crowd will react by cheering more for the second-place finisher than for Thomas,” the Daily Mail reports.
Ingrid Rosko, a swimmer at Saint Louis University, disagrees with Thomas competing on the women's team.
“In general, the top percentage of times are faster for male swimmers than female swimmers,” Rosko told Campus Reform. “There are exceptions to that rule, but there is a physiological difference there that can be seen in the overall performance of athletes.”
She continued to say, “[s]eparating men and women in competition allows both men and women to compete at the highest level possible and be recognized for it.”
Rosko then offered a hypothetical example to explain why she considers the situation "unfair."
“I’ve spent my college career watching young women on our team hunt down records, missing by hundredths of seconds year after year, and then finally getting one by the skin of their teeth. If a guy on my team decided that they wanted to identify as a woman, they would automatically have our records by a significant margin without having to train any harder. That strikes me as unfair.”
Kaelan Daly, a swimmer at the University of Kentucky, wants transgender athletes to be included in college sports, but is unsure of how to do so fairly.
“I think there’s no right answer yet that balances allowing athletes to be themselves while also giving everyone a level playing field,” Daly told Campus Reform.
Professional athletes are also using their voices in opposition of Lia Thomas’ unfair advantage in women’s sports.
For instance, former professional tennis player Chris Everett took her opposition of Lia Thomas to Twitter, arguing the policy allowing the athlete to compete was not based on scientific truth.
Science has proved from the onset of male puberty,mainly because of high testosterone levels,male bodies are faster, stronger, and have more endurance than female bodies.. https://t.co/9uOVBb1Dy5
— Chris Evert (@ChrissieEvert) December 27, 2021
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, an Olympic swimmer and three-time Olympic gold medalist, also opposes UPenn’s decision to allow Thomas to compete as a female either.
Hogshead-Makar recently wrote an op-ed for the Daily Mail, in which she invoked her experience as a civil rights lawyer.
“As an Olympic champion and as a civil rights lawyer, I can assure you that there is nothing fair about transgender woman Lia Thomas competing for the University of Pennsylvania in NCAA swimming," the swimmer wrote.
Brown asserted on social media that there was a fundamental difference of "physiology" between men and women, Swimming World Magazine reported.
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Pennsylvania and Lia Thomas for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
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