A transgender swimmer appears to have reached the end of the line for now as USA Swimming said testosterone levels have to be low for 36 months in a row.
But, and this is a stunner, the swimmer, Lia Thomas, who represents Penn University, and who was born a man, could not meet the testosterone threshold, The Daily Mail reported.
Thomas, 22, began transitioning from male to female in May 2019, and so would appear to have only 32 months.
Until today, the rules required a year of suppressing testosterone, which meant that Thomas was likely to dominate the NCAA championship in Atlanta in March.
Thomas’s college, the University of Pennsylvania, is yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for clarification. The Ivy League school has previously been reported to be considering legal action if the rules were changed mid-season.
USA Swimming told DailyMail.com that whether Thomas is allowed to compete at the season-ending tournament was a decision for the NCAA.
The NCAA – which follows USA Swimming guidelines – has yet to reply.
USA Swimming on Tuesday updated their ‘elite athlete policy’ – which impacts Thomas, as an elite athlete.
The rules for eligibility for transgender athletes now state that rule changes “’will be implemented by a decision-making panel comprised of three independent medical experts’.
“Eligibility criteria will consist of: Evidence that the prior physical development of the athlete as a male, as mitigated by any medical intervention, does not give the athlete a competitive advantage over the athlete’s cisgender female competitors.
“Evidence that the concentration of testosterone in the athlete’s serum has been less than 5 nmol/L (as measured by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry) continuously for a period of at least thirty-six (36) months before the date of application,” it said.
Because apparently being born a man, with male bone and muscle structure and height advantages does not give an athlete an edge over someone born female.
The ridiculousness of the arbitrary rules aside, it appears Thomas is not going to be unfairly dominating anything.
On January 19 the NCAA said that it would adhere to USA Swimming guidelines.
“At the elite level, a policy has been created for transgender athlete participation in the U.S. that relies on science and medical evidence-based methods to provide a level-playing field for elite cisgender women, and to mitigate the advantages associated with male puberty and physiology,” USA Swimming said in addressing the issue.
Thomas’ teammates expressed their support for the swimmer who would have likely brought them a championship.
“We want to express our full support for Lia in her transition,” the team said.
“We value her as a person, teammate, and friend. The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds,” they said.