Kentucky Swimmer Joins Coaches Call for a ‘Trans Division’ After Tie with Lia Thomas 

Lia Thomas
Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines applauded the World Swimming Coaches Association’s (WSCA) call to create a separate division for transgender athletes in an interview with Fox News on Friday.

Gaines tied for fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle NCAA swimming championships with Lia Thomas, a biological male competing in women’s sports.

Gaines said there is a “night and day difference between male and female” athletes.

“Obviously in a sport like swimming, where it is based on your individual performance, and 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,” she continued.

Lia Thomas holds a trophy next to another swimmer

Riley Gaines stands next to Lia Thomas at the NCAA Championships (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

WSCA recently called for creating a “Trans Division” that would allow transgender athletes to compete separately from women.

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

The WSCA continued:

A coaches’ 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 could be seen that Trans males have become lost in this debate.

Gaines said that to pretend the biological differences do not exist “defies logic, reason, science and common sense,”

She also talked about communicating with Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R) about the transgender athlete issue. Gaines said she intends to introduce and fight for legislation amending Title IX to protect women’s sports, which she would name “Title XX,” after the two female chromosomes.


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