Kentucky Swimmer Who Tied Up Lia Thomas Backs Call for Separate ‘Trans Division’

A Kentucky swimmer who competed against controversial transgender athlete Lia Thomas applauds the World Swimming Coaches Association for calling for a separate “trans division” in competitions.

University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines — who ranked Thomas fifth in the 200-yard freestyle NCAA championships — told Fox News it’s “great” that groups like the WSCA are pushing for change.

Trans swimmers like Thomas have an unfair advantage in the pool because it requires “things like your strength and your stamina and your strength and stamina, all those things where women are usually at a disadvantage compared to men,” Gaines told America’s Newsroom.

“To otherwise do so defies logic, reason, science and common sense, in all honesty,” she told the outlet, saying it’s “just a day and night difference between a man and a woman” in the pool.

“I think it’s great that we have these little governing bodies that are willing to come out and make these statements,” she said of the group of coaches.

University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines on Fox News.
Lia Thomas holds a trophy next to another swimmer
Penn Quakers swimmer Lia Thomas holds a trophy after finishing fifth in the 200 meter event at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

However, she emphasized that “ultimately the decision rests with these larger organizations,” such as the NCAA, FINA and the International Olympic Committee.

“How many small governing bodies will it take for these larger organizations to listen?” she asked.

The WSCA released its “Transgender Swimming Position Statement” last week, saying the option for its own “trans division” had received “overwhelming support” from its members.

The association stressed that it had a “clear agenda” to ensure “everyone is treated with dignity and respect”.

“However, the inclusion of transgender people in women’s sports cannot be balanced with fairness because differences in strength, endurance and physique remain when comparing the average female to the average female/non-binary transgender male assigned birth,” the group argued in its statement.

The group insisted the split would not be a drastic overhaul considering how many divisions already exist.

Lia Thomas gives a media interview following heats of the 500 yard freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championship.
Lia Thomas gives a media interview following heats of the 500 yard freestyle during the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship.
Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

“In the typical club team, age group athletes, elite athletes, Special Olympians, and Paralympic athletes all share the same exercise pool,” the group said.

“They train together every day for weeks and then go their separate ways for their competitions.

“It could be the same for our trans athletes. 99% of the year all athletes train together. 1% of the year they participate in their respective competitions,” emphasized the WSCA.

“The historical role of a coach has been to expand the sport and create the best opportunities for our athletes to compete. The “trans situation” offers us the same opportunity.

“We must protect women’s sport, but we must strive to create fair competition for all,” it said. Kentucky Swimmer Who Tied Up Lia Thomas Backs Call for Separate ‘Trans Division’


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