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A group of University of Arizona swimmers have written a letter to the NCAA expressing deep concern about the state of women’s swimming following Lia Thomas’ victory at this year’s championship.

“Since the adoption of title nine, young mothers like me…and most of the University of Arizona women on our list have young children, for the first time, we feel like our daughters n ‘may not have the same chance of success as we did,’ former NCAA champion Marshi Smith told Fox News. “It’s something that has motivated us to speak out publicly.”

In their letter, the group of nearly 40 retired swimmers, which includes Olympians, a U.S. National Swim Team head coach and manager, and numerous NCAA champions, raised some number of concerns about the fairness of allowing trans-athletes to compete alongside women and offered solutions to ensure the integrity of women’s sport.

“It is difficult to express the anguish the women’s swimming community experienced over the past week watching the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships,” the letter read.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas accepts the winning trophy in the women’s 500m freestyle final as second place Emma Weyant and third place Erica Sullivan during the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships March 17 2022 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas won the 500-meter freestyle competition in March, becoming the first transgender NCAA Division I champion. Following Thomas’ victory, Smith said she and d other former Arizona swimmers had decided to come together and speak out because “individually, we felt like we had no voice. We weren’t asked for our opinions or possible solutions to what was going on. happened.

“We ask the NCAA, do we have a voice?” said Smith.

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Smith started swimming at the age of six and said she immediately fell in love with the sport. She swam at the University of Arizona on a full track and field scholarship and in 2005 won the NCAA championship in the 100-meter backstroke.

“If you’re not a swimmer, you don’t really understand how tight every race can be,” Smith said, noting that she only won her championship meet by 0.03 of a second. “It’s crucial in swimming, every inch really counts,” she continued.

While the NCAA has yet to respond to the group’s letter, Smith has received a response from the organization’s president, Mark Emmert, in response to a letter she sent individually ahead of the swimming and diving championship. of this year.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas swims in the 500m freestyle final during the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 17, 2022 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas swims in the 500m freestyle final during the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 17, 2022 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In Emmert’s written response, “the Board of Governors strongly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to participate in varsity sports.”

The letter continues, “Current NCAA policy is rooted in the evolving science on this issue and in the sport-specific policies of the national governing bodies of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.”

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“Politics rooted in the evolution of science is not a sufficient explanation to explain to female athletes why a biological male who competes in women’s sports is fair,” Smith told Fox News.

Georgia Tech's 'Grad Pride' club attended the protest to show support for trans-athletes Lia Thomas and Iszac Henig

Georgia Tech’s ‘Grad Pride’ club attended the protest to show support for trans-athletes Lia Thomas and Iszac Henig
(Digital Fox News)

Smith said the group of swimmers are “very suspicious of the science the NCAA uses to determine the parameters that allow a biological male to compete directly against females.”

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“The experience and wisdom of these women is truly unparalleled,” she continued. “We have determined that the best course of action at this time would be to err on the side of fairness at all levels and that means women are not being asked to give up our titles, records, scholarships at this point,” Smith said.

As a solution to the problem of including transathletes, she said “can we suggest that men be invited to welcome this new class of athletes of any gender into their category?”

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