Lia Thomas Will Not be Able to Compete in the Women’s Division with New FINA Policy

International Swimming League (FINA), the world swimming’s governing body, banned transgender athletes from competing unless they’ve transitioned before the age of 12, puberty.

This move bans Lia Thomas who swam for the University of Pennsylvania, from competing in women’s events governed by FINA.

FINA is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for administering international competitions in water sports.

The new “gender inclusion policy” permits those who have transitioned before puberty or the age of 12 to compete in women’s events. The members voted 71.5% in favor of the policy. The governing body also working to set up an “open category” for them to compete in, saying “a new working group that will spend the next six months looking at the most effective ways to set up this new category.”

Chuck Callesto shared, “BREAKING REPORT: Lia Thomas and other transgender athletes are BANNED by world swimming’s governing body FINA from COMPETING AGAINST WOMEN, Separate ‘open category’ will be set up..”

 James Pearce, the spokesperson for FINA president Husain Al-Musallam, told The Associated Press, “This is not saying that people are encouraged to transition by the age of 12. It’s what the scientists are saying, that if you transition after the start of puberty, you have an advantage, which is unfair”

“They’re not saying everyone should transition by age 11, that’s ridiculous. You can’t transition by that age in most countries and hopefully, you wouldn’t be encouraged to. Basically, what they’re saying is that it is not feasible for people who have transitioned to compete without having an advantage.”

This move should set the standards for global swimming competition and opens the door for NCAA and high school swimming to also follow the lead of FINA.

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has dominated the news in women’s college swimming this past year. Thomas had said she wanted to continue to swim after college and was eyeing the 2024 U.S. Olympic trials. This move bans her from competing in the women’s category in those events.

Olympian Sharron Davies applauded the move by FINA, “I can’t tell you how proud I am of my sport @fina & @fina_president for doing the science, asking the athletes/coaches and standing up for fair sport for females. Swimming will always welcome everyone no matter how you identify but fairness is the cornerstone of sport