Nightwing
Last month

FINA: Swimming bans trans atheletes from Women's events

Swimming's world governing body FINA has made the historic decision to ban transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s races but with a bombshell twist that could change international sport forever.

As well as making a landmark ruling that only biological women can compete in female events - FINA has also proposed separate "open" races that will cater for transgender athletes who don’t fit into the traditional gender categories.

In one case study provided by the scientific group, it was shown that once boys reached the age of 14, they could outswim the fastest open age female swimmers in history.

Professor Sandra Hunter, who graduated from the University of Sydney and is an expert in human performance, told the Congress the scientific evidence was overwhelming:

“Let’s be clear, testosterone is anabolic steroid and energises athletic performance,” she said.

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ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

It's a no-brainer decision that will cause those with no brains to go up in arms. But the physical differences between genetic males and females are insurmountable . Testosterone acts essentially like a steroid and even when levels are lowered, a body that has had the benefit of going through male puberty is always going to have an unfair advantage. Sports are segregated by gender for good reason and this is a win for women in sport who have every right to be outraged that their opportunities have been usurped in various areas.

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Drexler  
Last month

Finally all those women who transitioned to male and are dominating mens sports will no longer be able to take away what men have worked so hard for their whole lives.

Reply #894050 | Report this post


Luuuc  
Last month

Seems logical to me.
I assume other popular sports will follow suit once there are sufficient numbers of people interested in competing in the additional category/ies.

Reply #894055 | Report this post


Gk82  
Last month

Commonsense, no need to even vote. Sick of the woke crap going on

Reply #894057 | Report this post


Perthworld  
Last month

Brilliant decision by FINA and hopefully a trendsetting one as well.

Reply #894063 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

This was a vote for common sense and reason over identity politics and "feelings" . I hope it sets off a trend in society where logic and reason starts to take precedent over whatever grievance Olympics they're training kids to enter during Uni.

Reply #894065 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

So are we also going to start banning athletes with other biological advantages?

Reply #894071 | Report this post


Gk82  
Last month

^^^^^ should ban you for the biological you write

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Weedy Slug  
Last month

This topic is going to be on sky news for a long time isn't it, just for the outrage factor.

Reply #894079 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

"So are we also going to start banning athletes with other biological advantages?"


HAHAHAHA oh wow. right on cue. It's not just some biological advantage. It's like a featherweight being expected to fight a heavyweight boxer who is also on gear. I just KNEW your take on this was going to be comical. I had my popcorn in the microwave for it.

Reply #894082 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

If we're no longer concerned with the very overwhelming biological differences between genders, let's just throw gender out of sport and have men, trans and women all competing on the same playing field. Women will stop playing sports altogether seeing as Serena Williams was once beaten by a world number 300 tennis player, and professional female soccer teams have been beaten by under 14 boys amatuers, but gender is "just some biological advantage" to Kobe lol. No... it's a list of biological advantages that come together to form a completely different being altogether. The differences are such as to warrant the very gender exclusions that female sport is predicated on!

Reply #894083 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

Question for Kobe. Can you show me one genetically female swimmer that has the length, height and shoulders of Lia Thomas? Just one?

Reply #894084 | Report this post


Isaac  
Last month

In detail, it was a very specific and science-based decision that adjusted categorisation. They refined eligibility and plan to create a new category similar to what happens with the Paralympics.

Reply #894085 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

Yeah and that's what they should do. No one should be excluded from sport, but someone's inclusion shouldn't come at the expense of fairness to everyone else.

Reply #894087 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

Literally every elite athlete is where they are because of a biological advantage.

Trans women a) are a tiny percentage of women and b) not even remotely equivalent to cis men.

Should have put in a maximum shoe size years ago so Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps didn't unfairly exclude anyone. FIBA should introduce height limits so people aren't unfairly excluded by 95% of current elite basketball players.

Reply #894088 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

"Should have put in a maximum shoe size years ago so Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps didn't unfairly exclude anyone."

Hahaha okay, so do they not only have a bigger shoe size, but are they a foot taller, a foot wider, with bigger hearts and the benefit of having taken steroids for 5 years before hitting the pool? Because if they are then MAYBE you'd have a point. We're not talking about one or two attributes, we're talking about an almost entirely different animal.

"FIBA should introduce height limits so people aren't unfairly excluded by 95% of current elite basketball players."

Another dumb comparison. The people in the NBA arent unfairly disadvantaged by a being that has physical attributes so different to them as to constitute a different gender. Even Lebron James - a physical freak - is closer to the pack of the NBA than any transgender person would be in any competition.

And the question isn't whether some average person like you or me can make the NBA. It's whether someone who deserves to make the NBA is excluded because of an entirely unfair advantage and their own personal beliefs about what they are.

Reply #894089 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

Kobe is the kind of guy to take steroids for a natural body building competition and then think winning is fair.

Reply #894090 | Report this post


Zodiac  
Last month

ME is the kind of guy that dominates a thread with 8 rage posts and counting despite agreeing with the judgement at hand. Won't someone think of the children, oh wait!

You're both muppets.

Reply #894091 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

And the question isn't whether some average person like you or me can make the NBA. It's whether someone who deserves to make the NBA is excluded because of an entirely unfair advantage and their own personal beliefs about what they are.
Who decides what counts as deserving of making the NBA? Some people have better attributes for specific sports than others. That's just how it is, that's how it's always been. You can point to Lia Thomas all you like, but her existence as a major outlier is no different to Phelps's - nobody who swam at the same time as Phelps stood much of a chance of winning anything, but he was just one massive outlier. So is Thomas. It's not like the sport is flooded with trans women. You can't point to Thomas and say that's how all trans women would perform, any more than you can point to Phelps and say that's how all cis men perform.

Even Lebron James - a physical freak - is closer to the pack of the NBA than any transgender person would be in any competition.
Bullshit.

Thomas's win in the 500m is being held up as an example of it being incredibly unfair, but her time of 4:33.24 is pretty damn similar to the 2021 winning time of 4:33.61 and nearly ten seconds behind Ledecky's 4:24.06 world record.

People holding her up as an example don't bother to mention the 200m, in which Thomas finished with a time of 1:43.40, which is actually slower than last year's winning time of 1:43.35. It's also slower than this year's winning time of 1:41.12, and also the finishing time of second place (1:41.59), third place (1:42.38), and fourth place (1:42.63). They also don't mention the 100m, where Thomas finished in 48.18, slower than literally every other woman in the race and seven of the eight women in last year's race. In the last two years, 88% of her competitors have bested her time in the 100m free.

So basically, she won a swimming event, with a perfectly within-range and non-noteworthy finishing time. This is utterly unremarkable and absolutely not in any way proof that she's so vastly superior to everyone else that we have to kick her out of the competition.

Forcing Thomas to compete against men 25 seconds faster than her is not fairer than having her compete with women a second slower than her.


Right, which is why Lia Thomas finished the 500m freestyle event with a stunning time of 4:33.24, an unreachable mark which absolutely blows away the previous year's winning time of 4:33.61. There's no way anyone could even come close to matching that gap of less than half a second. Katie Ledecky's world record of 4:24.06 is sure to fall any day now, it's only a mere nine seconds quicker. I'm sure Thomas just felt an overwhelming sense of charity which led her to finish fifth in the 200m and dead last in the 100m.

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ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

"nobody who swam at the same time as Phelps stood much of a chance of winning anything, but he was just one massive outlier."

He was swimming against his own gender at least.

"It's not like the sport is flooded with trans women. You can't point to Thomas and say that's how all trans women would perform,"

Trans women are winning consistently in all sports theyre in if you hadnt noticed.

"Forcing Thomas to compete against men 25 seconds faster than her is not fairer than having her compete with women a second slower than her."

Theyre making a separate category for trans women. Problem solvered!

Reply #894100 | Report this post


KFC Rules  
Last month

Seriously you two are a huge reason why other people don't like to post in here anymore.

So obnoxious. Please stop.

Reply #894101 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

He was swimming against his own gender at least.
So is Thomas.

Trans women are winning consistently in all sports theyre in if you hadnt noticed.
I like how you just skipped over the fact that she finished below average in two of her three events.

Theyre making a separate category for trans women.
I don't believe they are, my understanding is that the men's competition will become "open" instead of men-only, and trans individuals will compete there. There won't be a third competition created.

Reply #894102 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Kobe, your "understanding" is incorrect. The Open category is an ADDITIONAL category, not just a name change for the Men's category.
You can find the full policy (instead of just reading opinions) here:

https://fina.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1fa77b3ebc69b068e1cb774f3&id=0740179447&e=f559ac8d54

Below is the relevant section from the conclusion part of the policy:

Athletes who do not meet the applicable criteria for the men's category or the women’s category may compete in any open events that FINA may develop in the future. FINA will begin work following the final promulgation of this Policy to determine the feasibility of establishing an open category in Aquatics sport disciplines, in which an athlete who meets the eligibility criteria for that event would be able to compete without regard to their sex, their legal gender, or their gender identity.

Reply #894110 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

"He was swimming against his own gender at least.
So is Thomas."

Haha wow. I am a kangaroo then because I believe I am and you will address me as such

Reply #894112 | Report this post


Anonymightymouse  
Last month

Fantastic to see FINA recognise that sports are divided for biological reasons, and applying the separation on biological terms.

Hopefully now they will realise there is no biological reason for male-only events and simply have female events (XX) and open events (XX & XY).

Reply #894114 | Report this post


Isaac  
Last month

Kangaroo, since you asked for it, you can be the first and only person to get a pronouns tag on Hoops.

Reply #894115 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Using Lia Thomas as the test case is somewhat difficult because she has really only competed in NCAA SCY events. SCY is short course yards and is peculiar to US college swimming so very few elite swimmers outside of this system ever complete in SCY events.

Looking at her 100 free time from pre-transition it was 47.15 compared to Caeleb Dressel's US record time of 39.90 which is pretty much a lifetime difference in this event and is basically not remotely in the same league as Dressel.

Her time post transition is 47.37 which is only a very small drop and compares much more favourably to Simone Manuel's US record of 45.56. It does not take a mathematical genius to work out that if someone around the 42 second mark transitioned that Manuel's US record would be blown out of the water and might possibly record a time that a cisgender woman might never be capable of beating.

The issue with using Lia Thomas as proof that the "world will not end" is predicated on the fact that she was a very ordinary level male athlete, so yes this is not a "huge" problem now, but FINA are being exceptionally forward thinking (for a change) and making sure that there is not some massive furore further down the track should a male athlete of much greater ability transition.

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LV  
Last month

This is a fair, evidence based decision

Well done FINA and hopefully other sports follow suit

In fact Rugby League has announced transgender women won't be able to compete in the upcoming Women's World Cup

Reply #894118 | Report this post


LV  
Last month

Sporting bodies have been bending over backwards to promote women's sport for the last decade or so. It would be an epic own goal if they made a mockery of women's sports by removing fairness and allowing biological men to compete.

Reply #894124 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

An interesting case study would be if Lebron James started questioning his gender identity. Imagine what that would do to the WNBA. It would be a reason to watch I suppose but to call it fair on any of the players would be ridiculous. Lia Thomas was an ordinary male swimmer and is right on the cusp of being the absolute best female swimmer. That should tell you what you need to know about fairness with transgenders in sport.

Reply #894125 | Report this post


Isaac  
Last month

Nothing gets men interested in women's sport like Cambage and transgender issues. Maybe netball can try either or both instead of gambling ads?

Reply #894127 | Report this post


Cram  
Last month

Isaac you're killing it in this thread.

Reply #894135 | Report this post


Perthworld  
Last month

The only killing I've seen by isaac lately was closing off the Pinder thread instead of deleting the perpetrators' crap which derailed the topic.

Reply #894138 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

I am utterly shocked to discover that everyone applauding this policy turns out to be transphobic.

Reply #894139 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Sorry Kobe, wrong again mate. Do not conflate being concerned about the rights of billions of people with being transphobic. I started out with 1 nephew and 3 nieces and now have two of each, does not bother me in the slightest and I don't treat any of the 4 any differently. I know a few scientists are pushing back saying the science is not definitive, but they also cannot prove there is not, or will not be, an advantage for males transitioning to female either.

We need to think more about the rights of the VAST majority on this issue first. Eventually the science may prove otherwise but I heavily doubt it and the performances pre and post transition for Lia Thomas do not give much hope for that outcome. We worried too much about the rights of a lot of East German athletes a few years ago and that cost a lot of innocent and hardworking female athletes dearly. Everybody suspected something was amiss, but the science could not prove it until well after the fact. You cannot please all of the people, all of the time and the surest path to failure is to try is one of my favourite quotes.

What if a transgender female competes in NRL and a tackle results in the permanent disability of a female athlete and the science then comes in to be as definitive as can be? When I say definitive you will never get complete agreement from scientists anyway as there were medical professionals who disagreed with the finding that smoking was harmful to health.

I am sure you would not like it if we labelled you a male chauvinist pig because you are not taking into account the feelings of a large number of female athletes. Even Caitlyn Jenner said Lia Thomas was not the rightful winner so is she transphobic as well?

Reply #894146 | Report this post


Anon  
Last month

Janae Kroc was a male all time record holder in powerlifting than transitioned to female a few years back. Said she would never compete again because she has unfair advantage. Some federations in PL are untested so would allow the use of steriods. So even CIS females juiced up wouldn't be able to compete with Kroc as she was born a man. There is a doco called Transformer about Kroc

I'm ok with people making the choice to transition but just don't F up sport.

Reply #894182 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

We need to think more about the rights of the VAST majority on this issue first.
Ah, yes, of course. The majority are always oppressed, they must have their carve-outs.

Reply #894184 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Kobe, you really are an idiot and consistently conflate situations with absurd hyperbole. Your rights as an individual or as part of a group do not exist in a vacuum, they exist within the construct of the society where the rights of all must be considered. I can drive very well and have a car fast enough to drive at 200 km/hr on the freeway, but I share that freeway with many others so my "right" to drive as fast as I want must be tempered in consideration of others. Last night on The Back Page, Crash said he knew a transgender cricket writer who said that she would support transgender rights all the way UP TO STRENGTH SPORTS but that is where she would draw the line and furthermore said that trying to push there would actually harm their cause. This is what we see when other groups play "the victim card" every time they do not get their own way without considering how their behaviour may affect others.

Your casual dismissal of women with your sarcastic description of them as "oppressed" really does paint you as a sexist arsehole and maybe you should stop commenting on an issue that affects females and not males because if you really think women have not had the rough end of the pineapple (and still bloody do in a lot of countries), then you are a delusional and inconsiderate shit stain.

Reply #894185 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

The majority in question was "cis people", not "women".

Reply #894191 | Report this post


Shotblocker  
Last month

Transgender women should not be competing against biological women in any sport ( with the exception of chess or shooting , neither of which involved any physical requirements other then eyesight and a brain)

This move by FINA is a good one, women have had to fight for every aspect of competitive sports from day dot and are still trying to get recognition even today , so to then place biological men who "identify" as a woman against a biological woman , just once again undermines women

Reply #894192 | Report this post


UseTaHoop  
Last month

Isaac

You brought up an interesting point with theParalympics comparison.

To expand further "down the line":

Individual sports (eg swimming, athletics, X country) relying on times, weights, distances) run MC (or multi category) designations (replacing the old Athletes With Disability) designation.

For juniors (schools, little aths, swimming etc) competitors need to achieve a certain mark to qualify for ot medal in their particular category. It's based on a classification-of-disability system. The mark is a certain % of the world record for their category. There are separate races for MC athletes, but all MC athletes can enter the same competition (until there’s enough competition within a category to run a separate race. They can go in the same race as mainstream competitors too (in separate lanes). The more serious competitors can do a good job keeping up and beating some able bodied competitors. At a Regional X Country, we had an MC athlete qualify in his age group because he chose to not identify as disabled (but he trained regularly and went well in Park Run in his area). It’s the same as running 2 age groups together. The lanes are grouped together, and athletes know where their actual competition is.

It works well as a system in juniors/schools. Kids get to catch up and socialise with their peers from other schools/areas. It also gives more opportunities to students from a marginalised community. As they go from school to zone to region and then to state, it’s only the more serious competitors that remain. But the kids who are just trying out a sport at school level can see a pathway.

I’d imagine that a similar development will occur in the “Open” category. I’d prefer to see trans athletes in races with their birth sex. The reason is entirely practical and developmental. The male to female trans athletes will get more competition chasing faster boys/men, rather than risking them running/swimming out front and not having to push themselves to “compete” when they’re on the same race- it helps them to prepare for faster competition at the higher levels).

Team sports are harder to manage though. The AFL hold an inclusive competition for these athletes (cognitive disability mostly). Basketball opportunities are available too, but it’s mostly outside of BA structures.

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Dog 55  
Last month

Spot on (again) Shotblocker. The unfairness to women is lost on some people in this debate and they only think of themselves and a very narrow look at the issue. There is no perfect solution that will have everybody walk away 100% satisfied with the outcome but some have the view that if you are not 100% for "us" then you are 100% against "us" and therefore are "usphobic" and that is not the case. Janae Kroc, Caitlyn Jenner and the cricket writer Crash mentioned (apologise for not remembering her name) are all examples of those transgender females who recognise the unfairness that would be involved if transgender women were to be allowed to compete in strength sports against biological women. Are they also transphobic? Our lives are full of day to day things where we don't get to do whatever we want because we have to be part of a broader society.

Reply #894202 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

LIA THOMAS FINISHED IN THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE MAJORITY OF HER EVENTS.

Stop pretending this is about fairness.

Reply #894203 | Report this post


Anonymightymouse  
Last month

The reason sports are split on a biological basis is fairness. Stop pretending it is about anything else.

Reply #894208 | Report this post


Isaac  
Last month

The unfairness to women is lost on some people in this debate and they only think of themselves and a very narrow look at the issue.
I don't think "only think of themselves" is an accurate way to describe how people feel about either side of this. I'd guess that the majority of commenters in any online discussion about it are not female or transgender athletes with skin in the game. At least one is a kangaroo.

I think it's fighting for their perception of fairness, and like you said, there's no ideal solution that everyone would believe supports their perception. Whether it's a fair playing field for one group or about fair participation/understanding for another. In theory, these are very positive sentiments, but the vitriol can be remarkable.

I believe a lot of discontent in a community relates to the pace of change. I think it's inevitable that what we think of with genders (uniforms, bathrooms, etc) will change dramatically over the next few years, but tackling the societal aspect (unisex bathrooms, let people wear whatever uniforms they want, ignore pronouns rather than dictate them, etc) and the sport aspect (this thread) concurrently is going to drag it out. At the professional level, I can't see how it won't come down to each league making a judgement specific to their sport.

I was trying to understand how some people are almost irrationally angry towards cyclists and reading someone's comment this week made me wonder if that also is about fairness. As a motorist, their fuel/car/rego taxes generally pay for roads, but cyclists were getting to use the infrastructure or even get separate bikeway-type infrastructure for free - unfair! Cyclists (well, a minority of) could hold up traffic on hills roads - unfair! A minority again could ride aggressively or run red lights without penalty - unfair! No comment about other costs of vehicles to the community or health costs or about aggressive drivers and whatever else. This commenter was just absolutely furious about cyclists.

Reply #894210 | Report this post


XXXX  
Last month

Whether Lia Thomas is competitive or not with the top female swimmers in the US or not is irrelevant. She still has a significant biological advantage over biological women, the same advantage that has lead to there being a separate women's division. Testosterone suppression has no effect on some of the advantages biological men enjoy and only slightly reduces the advantages in many other physical aspects.

Her presence in NCAA events means that a biological woman, who doesn't have the physical advantages of having gone through male puberty, has missed out on the opportunity to compete in each of those races. The issue is 100% about fairness!

Reply #894212 | Report this post


ME (he/kangaroo)  
Last month

Even if Lia Thomas consistenly finished last Kobe, it's a competition she shouldnt even be in. There's a girl out there who cannot compete because she can. Biological distinctions were made in sports to protect the rights of the girl who is being left out and to give her a fair playing field and chance to compete. You can make your point that no one is biologically equal but even when that is the case, the differences between males and females are stark and serve as very reasonable boundaries to competition. Men and women are different things physically and biologically and no amount of hormone replacement will change that. You can use their preferred pronouns and give them any kind of consideration you like but you cant pretend it is fair that biological men compete with women. The acceptable amount of testosterone to compete in women's sports was actually three times the female average, meaning a transgender athlete could be, comparatively, on steroids and still be considered fine to compete. The only fair resolution is the one FINA has announced - that transgenders will have their own category to compete under. No one is stopping anyone from swimming but theyre competing against eachother. Is that unfair? I dont think so. This will be the last thing I say on this anyway.

Reply #894213 | Report this post


Isaac  
Last month

*hops off into the distance*

Reply #894214 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

Even if Lia Thomas consistenly finished last Kobe, it's a competition she shouldnt even be in.
This is literally one of the best sports in the world to have this discussion, because there are completely objective measures for these things. It's not like team sports, where everything gets intertwined, or things like horse or motor racing where there are other external factors.

Lia Thomas is a good, but not overwhelmingly dominant, swimmer. That's it.

If trans women dominating and ruining sports is such a major issue, why are there literally zero examples of it happening? Even if Thomas were dominating women's swimming, it wouldn't mean much of anything because dominant athletes come along every now and then, such as Michael Phelps in the men's competition. There are always going to be outliers. That's just how sport goes. Unless we're going to start having dozens of height and weight categories, it's never going to be completely "fair", whatever the hell that means in a context of measuring who's better at a thing. Biological advantage plays a part in literally every sport. I've pointed this out previously to people who whine that you have to be inordinately tall to play professional basketball. You have to be inordinately something, biologically, to compete at an elite level in literally any sport. Yao Ming was 7'6". John Stockton had a resting heart rate of something like 20bpm. Whatever the advantage happens to be, everyone at that level has one.

So why is "went through male puberty" less fair an advantage than "has an abnormally slow heart rate" or "is abnormally tall" or any of the dozens of other advantages people have in sport? Why is that where we draw the line, absent any proof it's allowing anyone to dominate the sport in a way that's obvious and non-competitive?

If the top three places were always trans women, and by margins that were unreachable, we could have a discussion about it. But one trans woman winning one event once, with a result comparable to the cis winner the prior year, ain't it.

Hopefully now they will realise there is no biological reason for male-only events and simply have female events (XX) and open events (XX & XY).
And where do we put XXY individuals and XYY individuals? What do we do with XY individuals who have androgen insensitivity syndrome?

Chromosomes don't mean jack shit.

Reply #894220 | Report this post


Cake  
Last month

I find it interesting that the many disagreeing with kobe aren't really addressing the points raised. I'd like to be an Olympic swimmer, but I can't, because I'm crap at swimming. Those "missing out" because a trans woman participates are a very very very small number. Saying we have to think about fairness for the "billions" of women affected is ridiculous, because it simply won't affect most of them.

I also find it interesting that we're just banning trans women outright despite the fact that biological advantages relate largely to puberty, and as kids' gender preferences are being acknowledged and respected at earlier ages, many trans girls won't go through male puberty. In that sense, it worries me that limiting trans participation now on the grounds of "fairness" fosters exclusion of a minority group that is *decreasingly* likely to threaten fairness in the future. Those kids are then excluded because of rules made for an earlier time. And yes, I expect that eventually the rules would change. But is the harm done in the meantime worth it to protect the performance achievements of a tiny minority?

I don't know the answer to trans participation, I'm not sure we have a good one just yet. But Isaac's point that many of those most vocal on the subject don't have skin in the game is important. This isn't an issue where your lack of comfort with trans participation should be a deciding factor. Try actually listening to the women who participate in these sports instead.

Reply #894223 | Report this post


LV  
Last month

[So why is "went through male puberty" less fair an advantage than "has an abnormally slow heart rate" or "is abnormally tall" or any of the dozens of other advantages people have in sport?]

Because disallowing say, Lebron James for his exceedingly advantageous physical gifts (vertical leap, agility for his weight, muscle ratio etc etc) would involve a bunch of arbitrary calculations

With males we're talking about a *group* where every member of that group has had an unfair advantage (male puberty) so it's no arbitrary at all. It's perfectly reasonable to draw a line and more akin to the reason they have weight divisions in combat sports

To the point that "it isn't happening much". To continue the combat sports analogy. Just because right now, say, most of the (tiny number of) 80kg boxers aren't particular skilled boxers and not dominating the 75kg weight division, doesn't mean we should permanently allow 80kg boxers to compete in the 75kg class.

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Shotblocker  
Last month

Cake ''I also find it interesting that we're just banning trans women outright despite the fact that biological advantages relate largely to puberty, and as kids' gender preferences are being acknowledged and respected at earlier ages, many trans girls won't go through male puberty. In that sense, it worries me that limiting trans participation now on the grounds of "fairness" fosters exclusion of a minority group that is *decreasingly* likely to threaten fairness in the future. Those kids are then excluded because of rules made for an earlier time. And yes, I expect that eventually the rules would change. But is the harm done in the meantime worth it to protect the performance achievements of a tiny minority?''


wow, you really don't understand anatomy do you, biologically born males have a completely different weight distribution center in the bone structure. Denser hip bones less pliable, as they are not designed to give birth, straighter rib cages, that enables stronger core, because they are not designed to give birth, broader shoulders and wider stances to complement the benefits of that stronger smaller pelvic region. They have stronger bone density, their system isn't stripped due to menstruation. Regardless of going through puberty or not, a biologically born male will ALWAYS be different to a biologically born female, and no amount of hormone therapy will alter that fact.

You put all those facts into a competitive situation, and a transgender female has very very clear advantages over a biological female in any sport that requires agility, strength, speed and stamina.

these women playing their chosen sport have enough hurdles to go through, adding transgender females into the mix just pushes women's sport back even further.
Bet if it was transgender males competing against biological males and winning, the screams of unfair would be heard globally and it would be banned without question

Giving transgender athletes their own competition is the only answer, and could in fact encourage more to take up competitive sport, and it would then be on an even playing field

Reply #894227 | Report this post


Isaac  
Last month

Try actually listening to the women who participate in these sports instead.
Presumably the international swimming organisation has a decent idea of the body of participants and opinions, the science, the records/advantages and whatever else. I'm sure they're not faultless and the age of administrators might mean they're somewhat conservative, but what they've outlined doesn't seem outrageous to me.

From my brief read of what they announced, it's not a ban, though effectively acts as a ban given rules in various countries about ages when processes are permitted. e.g., transition prior to puberty, or whatever. If those rules were changed, you could see transgender athletes competing in the female category.

Reply #894229 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

One reason Kobe still continues is I believe he is somewhat confused as to just how average a swimmer Lia Thomas was before transitioning (relative to the competition). The fact that she was on an NCAA swim team does not mean as much as what you may think. For this comparison I am using yours truly as I know that, although better than the average bloke off the street, I was not that special.

For the 100 SCY Freestyle Lia had a PB prior to transitioning of 47.15 compared to Caeleb Dressel's US record of 39.90. Given Dressel's standing in world sprint freestyle we can assume this would be the world record, and of course if was not it would just be even faster. That time difference is 18.17% of Dressel's time.

In 1994 the world record for 100 LCM Breaststroke was 1:00.95. If we add 18.17% to that time we get 1:12.02 and my PB that year was 1:13.51. Given the extra fatigue involved in swimming for 73 seconds instead of 47 that is very close to being the same "level" for the two of us in relative terms to the WR.

What did that 1:13.51 get me? I fluked a gold at the Vic Country Champs as the time was slower than the previous 10 years and slower than any time since. What did it not get me? It did not get me a qualifying time to swim at nationals and although I did qualify for Vic States I would not have made the final. That is just in Victoria which has nowhere near the depth of NSW or QLD.

In summary I got about as close to the WR as Lia Thomas did prior to transitioning and I was pretty ordinary in the grand scheme of things. I would not have been on the radar of any elite programs in Victoria let alone Australia.

The issue is not what Lia Thomas is doing now, it is what could easily happen if a male of greater standing was to transition and the havoc that would wreak on female world records.

Reply #894240 | Report this post


I'm a little bit on the fence here but leaning towards supporting the FINA decision.

What I am almost absolutely certain about is that if the decision went the other way there would end up being nationally sponsored and/or financially driven gender reassignment in the not to distant future.

I would be interested to see what people think about addressing this issue.

Reply #894247 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

That was the elephant in the room that I was thinking about. We know that some unscrupulous nations have run institutional PED regimes with no thought whatsoever for the health of their athletes and whilst I doubt there would be forced transitions, I agree that the prospect of "bribes" would be very possible. If you are a "second tier" male athlete, somebody who has spent 3 or 4 years in a national program and are just a semi final swimmer at world level, and you are faced with a decision between losing your place in that program and getting a shitty job on shitty wages or getting a lifetimes wage for winning a gold medal as a female then what do you do? All well and good for any of us to say no way but people sell kidneys so we don't know what someone desperate enough might do.

Reply #894250 | Report this post


Anonymightymouse  
Last month

Just keep going back to the reality that sport is only split on biological terms due to a biological disadvantage for females. Therefore the only reason to exclude a participant is if they are not a biological female. There should be open events and female events.

Reply #894251 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

Just keep going back to the reality that sport is only split on biological terms due to a biological disadvantage for females. Therefore the only reason to exclude a participant is if they are not a biological female.
Define "biological female".

What I am almost absolutely certain about is that if the decision went the other way there would end up being nationally sponsored and/or financially driven gender reassignment in the not to distant future.
I'm pretty happy putting that in the "worry about that if it ever happens" bucket. Right now trans individuals are waiting years to transition, nobody is getting whipped through for sports there are more efficient ways of cheating at. Not to mention the social consequences of PEDs are effectively zero, while the social consequences of transition are absolutely enormous.

For the 100 SCY Freestyle Lia had a PB prior to transitioning of 47.15 compared to Caeleb Dressel's US record of 39.90. Given Dressel's standing in world sprint freestyle we can assume this would be the world record, and of course if was not it would just be even faster. That time difference is 18.17% of Dressel's time.

In 1994 the world record for 100 LCM Breaststroke was 1:00.95. If we add 18.17% to that time we get 1:12.02 and my PB that year was 1:13.51. Given the extra fatigue involved in swimming for 73 seconds instead of 47 that is very close to being the same "level" for the two of us in relative terms to the WR.

What did that 1:13.51 get me? I fluked a gold at the Vic Country Champs as the time was slower than the previous 10 years and slower than any time since. What did it not get me? It did not get me a qualifying time to swim at nationals and although I did qualify for Vic States I would not have made the final. That is just in Victoria which has nowhere near the depth of NSW or QLD.
And it got Lia Thomas an appearance in a final where she placed eighth. That's really not a massive achievement, in the grand scheme of things. And that's if we ignore the possibility of an athlete in their late teens/early twenties improving after three years of training. Which is a thing that happens.

With males we're talking about a *group* where every member of that group has had an unfair advantage (male puberty) so it's no arbitrary at all. It's perfectly reasonable to draw a line and more akin to the reason they have weight divisions in combat sports
Of course it's arbitrary. HRT is a thing. Why the focus on puberty specifically?

Reply #894252 | Report this post


Isaac  
Last month

We've seen state-sanctioned drug programs and I could see state-supported transitions ("you're a promising athlete and you've talked about your identity conflicts, if you'd like us to cover costs/medical...") but anything beyond that seems pretty forced. It's one thing to take an athletic female swimmer and offer PEDs that add more muscle but a stretch to think more than the rarest cases would be transitioning and dealing with all the media shitshow that comes with it.

"Hey mate, we're dropping you from the SANFL squad so I guess your choices are country football and being a fruit picker or ... hear me out on this, have you considered women's AFL?"


KR, where's your arbitrary line? Purely on identity or some medical procedure or a medical/scientific benchmark?

Reply #894259 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Firstly, Kobe let's address the "we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it" approach you favour. That is the lazy, stupid and historically proven wrong approach for sporting bodies to take when formulating their rules. Doing it that way inevitably invites accusation of bias if there are any racial, religious, cultural etc differences between “winning” individuals/teams/countries who are adversely affected by rule changes and those individuals/teams/counties who benefit. Without naming names, we know the countries we are talking about, and we know they would not hesitate to raise a ruckus about any perceived bias involved with “after the fact” rule changes. Sporting bodies (most) have learned their lessons from the past and try to be as proactive as possible and anticipate any looming problems and address them before the fact so that people cannot use accusations of bias as a “defence”. In this case the accusation of bias against the transgender community is inevitable but we can avoid having all of the other ones thrown into the mix and clouding the issue further. This needs to be addressed as soon as we can and FINA is doing that.

Secondly, you still cannot grasp just how ordinary a swimmer Lia Thomas was before transitioning so I will try again to lay things out for you. Keep in mind these are very quick facts that are easily obtained from web searching and FINA’s analysis would have been FAR deeper and thorough. You persist in pointing out that she is not “setting the world on fire” but she has made unprecedented relative improvement in her swimming (not absolute improvement) and that is what is concerning FINA. I still think her presence on an NCAA swim team prior to transition has you believing she was in some way “elite” but she was not even close. Her team, UPenn, is just an ordinary team itself. In NCAA championships swimmers and relay teams earn points if they make either the A or B final (top 16) and in 2018 UPenn’s men’s team finished 28th in points with all points gained by one single swimmer (not Thomas) in 2 events in the one stroke. Their relay teams were either non-existent (did not qualify) or stone motherless last. Prior to transition she was a very ordinary swimmer on a very ordinary team. I could not even find her name on those results (or anyone from Penn State other than the swimmer who scored points), so she could not even qualify to swim at NCAA nationals. Now, however, she is making finals and winning events (and the only UPenn swimmer doing so). That sort of relative improvement under any other circumstances would have people screaming about PED use. Her transition required medical intervention and if any other swimmer had undergone a medical procedure or treatment and achieved that sort of relative improvement, they would be subjected to all manner of scrutiny in terms of PED use.

Could she have made that improvement as an 18 year old female to a 21 year old as you suggest is possible? The simple facts suggest no way known. I can use an example I know about to demonstrate but I am sure that FINA have used their access to the records of tens of thousands of elite level female swimmers to see whether Lia Thomas’ relative improvement falls within the bounds of “normal”. As I have shown you, prior to transition her 100 SCY free time was over 7 seconds away from the WR, but now she is just under 2 seconds away from the female WR. That is a relative improvement of over 5 seconds in an event that is quite short and difficult to make big gains in after a few years. As an 18 year old, a female swimmer from my rural city had a PB of a mid 58 for 100 LCM free. Her program was quite good, but she did not have the regular access to the VIS and all of the sports science as well as truly elite level coaching and training companions. After moving to Melbourne to such a program she eventually got that time to a mid 55 as a 23 year old and wound up swimming a heat in the 4x100 relay at the Olympics and scored a gold medal as a result of the finals team winning. That 3 second improvement in 100 LCM free would convert to about 2.5 in 100 SCY terms so Thomas’ relative improvement is twice that and SHE HAS NOT CHANGED TO A HIGHER LEVEL PROGRAM!! She still swims for UPenn and has not changed to one of the powerhouse programs so is not benefitting from any improved training or access to resources.

The discussion is not about whether it would be possible to maintain the same times after transition, it is about how far they should fall back so we do not have the possibility of a future male swimmer of greater ability making a mockery of the female world records.

FINA would have done a similar analysis using vast amounts of data and have found that the relative improvement cannot just be explained by natural improvement that other athletes have demonstrated previously. If you want to talk fair then fair would be a swimmer whose ranking was 554 in the 200 free would not go to 5, it would go to 500 odd. You could maybe explain up to about 200 with the natural improvement from 18 to 21 but female swimmers experience less improvement over that age range than male swimmers do so 554 to 5 is just out of the question without benefitting in some fashion from medical intervention.

FINA have crunched enormous amounts of data and have come to the conclusion that the presence of transgender women in female events is not fair on the females who have spent their entire lives as females and not had medical intervention past a cut off point. There is nothing 100% fair about the decision and it is absolutely impossible for it to ever be that way but in such a situation the decision must fall on the side of fairness for the vast majority. That is a fundamental tenet of the concept of democracy.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but at some point you have to concede that people with far greater knowledge and experience in the field have made the decision and in this day and age no sporting organisation is going to wilfully and carelessly upset a section of our community without having good cause. Doing so would just be commercial suicide.

Reply #894260 | Report this post


LV  
Last month

Why puberty specifically?

Because puberty is when males go through significant bodily changes that result in permanent, meaningful physical differences compared to females.

In the context of athletic performance, of course, "differences" means advantages.

Reply #894261 | Report this post


Cake  
Last month

Dog, I appreciate that you've got a reasoned response to the issue. I don't find it entirely convincing, but I think it's better supported than any other perspective here.

Isaac, I disagree that FINA would definitely have a well-informed view of athlete perspectives. They may, but it wouldn't be the first time a sport's governing body has been wildly out of step with the athletes.

UseTaHoop, what you've laid out at a junior level sounds good, for the most part. I just think juniors should be allowed to compete where they feel most comfortable. I know a child who was born female but generally uses a male pronoun. That child chose not to do Little Athletics last year, because even in the youngest age groups, they are split by gender, and the child didn't want to compete as a girl. I raise this because there's this concept that people will choose to compete in a female competition because it's easier to win. Now my experience isn't a comprehensive survey, but it demonstrates kobe's point that athletes are unlikely to "choose" to transition for the sake of competitive advantage. "Inclusion" that allows an athlete to compete but only in ways with which they're uncomfortable is NOT inclusion. We have made incremental progress with this on the basketball court, such as making allowances for religious garments under uniforms, and applying slightly more common sense to the interpretation of the rule that tape should be "skin-coloured." But we have a long way to go with creating genuinely inclusive environments, and I think swimming is a space where the worst-case scenario is that other athletes don't place as well. There's not the injury risk that comes with contact sports. Swimming seems like a space that, to me, could easily accommodate gender-diverse athletes *at least* to the highest levels of amateur competition.

Reply #894288 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Thanks Cake, I tried to think through the issue and it is actually something that I am not a latecomer at all to, in fact my thoughts go all the way back to the 1988 Paralympics (another long and winding story which I won't bore peeps with).

Not sure about the not listening to athletes though. The "old" FINA I would agree with as it always been a source of shame that the sport I have held so dear for over 40 years was run on an international level by a group of (mostly) old white men so out of touch with the real world and (mostly) in it for the perks (bribes) and not for the sport. The "new" FINA is a big improvement but I could agree that it is yet to fully prove itself and many might not see this as an advertisement for that at all but we need to patient.

In the end this will come down to democracy and in particular "commercial" democracy. If the majority of FINA's commercial partners threaten to withdraw their support unless the policy is overturned or modified then it most likely will. On the other hand if the majority threaten to withdraw if it is overturned then it will stay. If there is not much feedback at all then it will also stay.

Here in Australia that will likely come down the views of one person (same for rowing) as she basically bankrolls the sport and is the major reason for our recent improvement in fortunes. It does raise the possibility (however remote) of the awkward situation of our national champion being ineligible to compete on the world stage though. I suspect unless that person has firm views to the contrary that SA will go with FINA at the elite level at least.

Reply #894297 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Cake, the comparison to basketball is intriguing as I have used basketball as an example of the reasoning behind a proposal I have "percolating" with my local swimming body that may go some way to reducing the effects of this policy at the community level. One of the issues we have with swimming is that, although we have age/gender divided competition, we do not have ability based competition (grades) like basketball. This results in quite a severe drop off from the age of about 15 as by that stage kids know where they sit in the grand scheme of things. They can look at the entry program at the start of a meet and quite accurately predict where they are going to finish each of their races. Those who are consistently at the tail end soon lose interest. We can motivate them to some degree with talk of PB's but that only goes so far and at some stage they stop doing PB's so they drift off and we lose them from what is a great sport with fantastic health benefits that a lot of other sports cannot offer.

What I have proposed is that swimmers (of both genders) be divided up into grades based on their times and then points awarded based upon their improvement over previous PB. In that way swimmers would be competing against swimmers of similar speed and the overall determining factor in success (medals/ribbons) would be how hard you are working in training to improve yourself. The points could also be based on staying close to your PB so older swimmers still have an incentive to keep working hard. We would still need to run "normal" meets for those looking at the elite pathway but these type of meets could easily cater for the gender spectrum. This would also add a degree of uncertainty to the results as swimmers would not know whether they had "won" until all of the calculations were done and announcements were made.

Another idea I have had is called "pot luck relays" and this could also accommodate the gender spectrum. At most local meets relays based on age/gender have become a waste of time if restricted to teams from single clubs. What I propose is that swimmers are placed into composite teams based on times alone. For example the fastest 32 swimmers for 50m free are placed in teams so that swimmers 1, 16, 17 and 32 form a team and so on. This forms Heat 1. You do the same for swimmers 33 to 64 for Heat 2 etc. Those teams would of course be irrespective of gender/age, just ability. In theory that should result in a close contest, and some great mixing of kids with other kids. The really good part of this idea is that the same team then has to swim a medley relay so the 4 swimmers have to talk to each other and figure out what their fastest team would be. At championship meets we can go back to "traditional" club teams for relays but at your average weekend meet this would be a more inclusive approach and more fun for competitors.

Trying to cater for diversity means we have to diversify our offering in terms of how we structure our competition offerings.

Reply #894334 | Report this post


Isaac  
Last month

I think it also helps to think of changes in the broader space as falling into three categories:

- community changes being the most pressing and probably easiest in theory (how to inclusively address gender within school*, government policy, public amenities)
- junior sport where I think you can err on the side of being more inclusive/lax because participation is key
- professional sport where I think, within the bounds of law, the professional bodies decide their policy

*Not sure if it's happened elsewhere, but there's an interesting situation where a student in SA at a single-sex school changed gender partway through the school year. I thought that was a great spanner in the works.

Reply #894367 | Report this post


D2.0  
Last month

"So are we also going to start banning athletes with other biological advantages?"

Able-bodied athletes can't compete in the Paralympics.
Single Amputees can't compete in events for doubles.
Adults can't compete in kids events
15yr olds can't compete in under 13s
Sports such as boxing, weightlifting, etc, are restricted by body mass
Fat Blokes like me can't compete in the bobsled

Reply #894495 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

As well as that D2.0, young Kobe is confused about the difference between biological and genetic factors. The difference between species is biological as well as between genders of each species. Then within genders you can have genetic differences which govern things like hair and eye colour. Some of these genetic differences can be enhanced through training (some can actually be adversely affected by things like poor nutrition) and some, such as limb length, cannot. In swimming the lever principle plays a huge part in performance, possibly more than any other sport as we humans are very much not aquatic animals. The lever advantage that an athlete can have is made of two key components, external and internal. The external is the obvious limb length. Although not a hard and fast rule, the heights of swimmers can roughly be ordered as Backstroke, Freestyle, Butterfly and us Breaststrokers are generally the short arses. That height generally corresponds to limb length which gives an advantage over others of similar muscle strength and endurance. The often forgotten internal lever advantage relates to the distance apart the muscles are attached to the bones either side of the joint. This one is HUGE as we are talking about very small distances so a small difference actually represents a large percentage difference. This explains the likes of the young Romanian sensation who is not quite as tall as the rest of the field but just seems to glide effortlessly through the water. His internal lever advantage means he can apply less power for the same mechanical output. Of course this advantage cannot be quantified without invasive medical procedures so would be impossible to "grade" people on even if we wanted to.

Absurd hyperbole that conflates the factors involved in an argument is always the last resort for someone short on knowledge and facts so Kobe's little rant about banning people for all of these genetic differences was something I very much expected.

And if you could sprint fast enough over about 15m I'm sure they would widen the bobsled for you mate.

Reply #894503 | Report this post


koberulz  
Last month

Absurd hyperbole that conflates the factors involved in an argument is always the last resort for someone short on knowledge and facts so Kobe's little rant about banning people for all of these genetic differences was something I very much expected.
Everyone else: "Ew it's a man."
Me: "Here are her finishing times and how she compares with other women statistically."
Dog: "Obviously you have no facts."

Reply #894514 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Kobe it appears you are another ODD sufferer as you persist with incorrect assumptions in a field that you have little knowledge of. What exactly is your swimming pedigree please? Will you stop banging on about the fact that Lia Thomas has not destroyed any female WR's and think about the possibility of say Caeleb Dressel transitioning? By ANY measure Lia Thomas' relative improvement is completely and utterly unprecedented in world swimming and that is why FINA have acted now and not left it until female swimming is (potentially) turned into a complete joke. Your worshipping of a bloke with a less than stellar reputation when it comes to the treatment of women should disqualify you from commenting on an issue that will NEVER EVER affect you in any way whatsoever. These are genuine concerns being expressed by female athletes, and yes it is frustrating for them when the likes of Deves interject with their equally ill-informed drivel, but they are not being transphobic.

All sports are going to have to deal with issue in different ways as the inherent BIOLOGICAL, not genetic, advantages that men have over women have a wide array of effects in the various sports. For some sports those advantages will have exactly zero influence and for others it will be significant. Fallon Sharrock already competes in world darts and has beaten top players so the PDA will probably be shrugging their shoulders over this issue and going "we don't care either way". Cue sports are another as would be shooting and even archery I believe BUT not being an experienced participant in any of these I WOULD NOT DARE to try and speak for them.

I coached women's footy for a few years and witnessed some simply horrific treatment by blokes and that still continues today. My true understanding of the effects of that discrimination, however, would be no more than "scratch the surface" level as it was not directed at me specifically, I was just the coach on the sidelines. In the true definitions of the words I could sympathise with them, but I could never empathise with them.

We are so far away from equal treatment of females in sport it is literally not funny and until we do we need to listen to every single one of their concerns. We will not achieve equality until we accept the physiological differences between the genders and appreciate athletes for the efforts they are putting in. AFLW gets consistently criticized for the fact that the players cannot run as fast, kick as far, jump has high etc. Last year at the Olympics one of the biggest events was the 400 freestyle showdown between Titmus and Ledecky but there was ZERO discussion about the fact that neither would even qualify to swim in the men's event.

I sit next to a female staff member who describes herself as "far left" and when we began discussing the issue she mentioned that the science is not yet deifnitive and we both agreed that is quite possible it will never be BUT when I laid out the stats for her on Thomas' relative improvement she agreed that was not what she expected and that is much of the problem. The ill-informed talk about hormone treatments reducing muscle mass and increasing body fat etc but you CANNOT argue with the stats. Again I ask you what do you think would happen if Caeleb Dressel transitioned and lost a commensurate amount of time?

You have clearly have no clue or consideration as to the feelings of females in sport and certainly not in swimming so mate butt the fuck out of something you have no understanding of.

Reply #894536 | Report this post


Perthworld  
Last month

Dog 55 absolutely on fire.

I have really enjoyed reading your expert comments on the sport of swimming as recently I took it up again and never quite understood as a child why I could be so naturally good at one stroke and basically hopeless (stylistically) in all of the others. I had never considered the effect height and lever advantage could have on ability.

Reply #894541 | Report this post


Dog 55  
Last month

Hi Perthworld. It all comes down to lever. I am fairly short (173cm) and although my Free, Back and Fly are better than the average man off the street I am pretty rubbish in the grand scheme of things. My kick in those strokes is particularly awful as my natural stance has my feet splay outwards quite significantly. That means when I try to kick free or back, my feet are not "flat" and the water just slides either side. Imagine trying to row a boat and turning the oar sideways instead of presenting the blade "face on" to the water. That stance however makes it very easy for me to breaststroke kick so I go from being beaten by little 8 years olds in a kickboard race in freestyle kick to being able to beat strapping 16 year olds at my age of 54 if it is a breaststroke kick race. I can actually swim a faster 100m freestyle by putting a pull buoy between my legs and not kicking at all! For some reason FINA won't let me do that though!!

Also, the breaststroke pull is not a full length pull so my lever disadvantage is not as pronounced as it is with the other 3. Couple those with the fact that breaststroke is the only stroke in which the arms are recovered under the water (so that means technique is vitally important to reduce drag) and you have the reasons why my breaststroke times are so ridiculously close to my freestyle times. When I was young my backstroke was so awful I used to actually swim breaststroke upside down as it was faster! I did eventually get my "normal" backstroke to be faster than "upside down" breaststroke but still never got it to be faster than my breaststroke.

I dare say if I could beat you in either freestyle or backstroke I would be able to beat you in breaststroke and if I could beat you in both it would be very unlikely that I could not beat you in breaststroke. I have swam for years and never encountered someone like me. I often correct people when they describe me as a swimmer and say "nah, I am a breaststroker". That of course always comes with the usual sniggering comments, always from males of course.

Swimming is one sport where males/females have long trained together and nowadays at regular club meets we follow what Masters swimming has always done and that is have one 50m freestyle event that everyone enters and then the heats are structured merely on times. That means you race people of your ability and at the end of the day, the times are then divided into genders and ages for the purpose of awarding of medals/ribbons.

Given that Lia Thomas did not transition for the purpose of winning medals maybe she swims without the eligibility for medals/records. Pools at world/Olympic level have 10 lanes but only 8 are used for finals so if she made the top 8 (or even 16 for semis), then she could swim in lane zero or nine.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my thoughts on this run all the way back to 1988. I won't bore you with the full story but when the topic of transitioning swimmers became part of the discussion, all of the female swimmers that I trained with were adamant that the science would have to conclusively prove NO advantage before they would be happy. Of course, that was before the age of social media so nobody feared being unfairly labelled as xenophobic in some fashion. I dare say for every female swimmer that has publicly supported FINA, such as Cate Campbell, there are 10 that do so privately but the vitriolic extremism they know would come their way makes them hesitant to speak out. It is no different to why gay players in traditionally "macho" sports are reluctant to "come out".

As it stands the science can be argued both ways but the sheer scope of the relative improvement of Thomas cannot be argued with (unless you don't understand basic maths). If I had transitioned near my peak and only dropped the same amount of time that Thomas has, then I would have been making finals at nationals and possibly threatening for a national team spot given that I would have been selected for elite level programs and not the small rural one I spent my career in.

Seriously though, it is fantastic to hear you are back in the swim as it is the best sport for health by a street. Works all sections and systems of your body, is non load bearing and as long as you and your coach are careful not to overload, it is usually injury free. Keep at it and tell your mates. If you have not already done so, join the nearest Masters club and join the community!

Reply #894543 | Report this post




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