Lucky’s Lake Swim always has and always will be open to anyone that enjoys the love of swimming. We don’t care what country you were born in, your political party, race or religion, whether you are rich or poor, your age, your genotype, or how you identify yourself. The only thing that matters is the love of open water swimming.
HOWEVER: We do have divisions when setting lake swim records or winning awards in the Golden Mile® or the Rowdy and Lucky 1.5 K race. They are XY genotype (Formerly known as the male division) and XX genotype (Formerly known as the female division). Additionally, we have a Special Olympics Division. So again, we don’t care how you identify, but for awards and records, these are the divisions.
These rules are not new; the Golden Mile® has always had them in place, and you can see them in the FAQ section on the Golden Mile website.
Opinion statement from Lucky on the Lia Thomas transgender swimming issue.
Lia Thomas is, of course, welcome, to join us for our daily swims. I would love to have her join us for a swim, and our swimming community, with open arms, will welcome her. I’m sure she has some fascinating stories. However, she or other transgender women will not be allowed to set course records in the genotype XX divisions, only the genotype XY. Although having seen her times, she can set genotypic XY course records should she choose.
The NCAA and the International Olympic Committee have their own set of rules. They allow transgender males (genotype XY) that identify as women to compete against females (genotype XX) if they have had testosterone suppression for a year. Is this a good rule? Sure, if your goal was to get folks watching women’s events in the NCAA championships, Thomas’s swims broke all kinds of viewing records; otherwise a terrible rule. However, most competitive swimmers, male or female, believe this is unfair.
The proof is Lia Thomas winning the woman’s NCAA national championships this year in the 500 free. Lia, a genotype XY male who is 6′ 3″, grew up swimming as a male and competed for three years for Penn’s men’s swim team. As a male, he was an excellent swimmer making the Ivy league finals (4:18.7 500 free), but not a great swimmer as he couldn’t make NCAA cuts for men. After undergoing two years of testosterone suppression therapy, she began competing in the woman’s division and is now the woman’s 500 free NCAA National champion beating out Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant.
If you read Cheryl Cooky’s article from NBC News Think she would have you believe that Lia Thomas was one of the best things to ever happen to women’s sports, and she should be celebrated.
Cheryl Cooky was never an athlete, but she might equate trying out for your high school gymnastics team her freshman year and quitting being equivalent to the average collegiate swimmer. Swimmers spend a lifetime training to exhaustion every day to be rewarded in college by spending 20 hours a week training and losing weekends to competitions while carrying a full college load. Yet, for the most talented college swimmers, their colligate career’s greatest honor is qualifying for the NCAA championships. Her lack of understanding of swimming is apparent in the first line of her article, “On Saturday, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas placed last in the 100-yard freestyle swim during the NCAA championships.” Lia did not finish last in the 100; she finished 8th place in the finals of a national championship meet which awards All American honors for that finish and scores eleven points for her team.
By Lia swimming, she has cost three deserving women swimmers all-American honors, took away Emma Weyant’s national title and three other women opportunities to swim in the finals and three more in the consolation finals, as well as affecting overall team scores. So why should this be celebrated?
Cheryl Cooky makes a living blasting the sports media for lack of coverage of women’s sports based on the ridiculous tenet that media controls what the consumer wants to watch. For years, she has espoused that nobody watches women’s sports is the sports media’s fault. From her position, I would assume that we don’t see underwater hockey on primetime sports networks because of the collusion of sports media giants against underwater hockey. Although perhaps it is because underwater hockey is the world’s worst spectator sport, and ESPN would take a financial bath televising it. Sports programming is about the money. It always has been and always will be. If you don’t believe me, check out how many men’s swimming, gymnastics and wrestling programs have been dropped in the last three decades from division 1 schools compared to the number of men’s basketball and football teams.
Cooky goes on to say, “Moreover, there is a lack of scientific evidence that conclusively demonstrates a direct link between testosterone and athletic performance.” I know, and the earth is flat, and the moon landing was faked. I will agree that if Cooky was given testosterone, it would not affect her athletic performance because you have to work out for it to have an effect.
Cooky is not a swimmer nor an athlete, and she cannot begin to fathom the pain that Lia Thomas has caused for many women swimmers. Clearly, she does not understand the biological differences in the development between genotypic XY and XX individuals.
Her allusions to the transgender sports issue being similar to the civil rights movement, the racial integration into sports, and Jackie Robinson “breaking the color barrier” are farcical at best. What ticks me off the most is that individuals like Cheryl Cooky have a national media voice where the rest of us don’t.
I respect Lia “Will” Thomas for his accomplishments as a male swimmer but have no respect for having a Y chromosome and taking glory and accolades from deserving female swimmers.
What should happen? Well, Lia didn’t break any NCAA rules and based on that, I would not strip her of her awards, but I would change the rules as they are unfair. The NCAA should division based on not whether a person identifies as a man or woman, but instead on having an XY or XX chromosomal genotype.
We should all seek to keep women’s swimming equitable and fair. Perhaps the more important concern should be the attack on freedom of speech. Coaches are afraid of speaking out in opposition for fear of losing their jobs; swimmers remain silent as they are scared for their future, and sports commentators are told not to give their opinions. I would defend Cheryl Cookie’s right to promote her ridiculous views to the end. Still, freedom of speech is not letting ivory tower academics have their say while canceling others opposing views through structural intimidation.
Please stand up for female genotype athletes; they deserve your support; write the NCAA and let them know how you feel.