Transgender rules are ‘assault on women’s sport’, warns hall of fame swimming coach
Transgender policies currently in place in US student swimming are an 'assault on women's sports' according to respected coach Dave Salo, who says that rules which allow the likes of Lia Thomas to compete aren't 'fair at all'.
Salo, who was the long-time head coach at the University of Southern California until he stepped down last year, spoke out on what is becoming an increasingly fractious topic in sport after Thomas, a swimmer who transitioned to female after being born male, recorded some of the best times of the athletic year while representing the University of Pennsylvania.
The current transgender policy held by the NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association which governs college sports in the United States, grants permission to trans women to compete so long as they have completed at least one year of testosterone suppression treatments.
Thomas has been undergoing testosterone therapy for more than two years.
Just to show you how absurd this is. Here’s the trans swimmer “Lia” Thomas crushing all of the female competitors by 40 seconds. This is what that looks like in real time. A total farce. pic.twitter.com/kAi9GgF5sj— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) December 15, 2021
But Salo says that the rules produced by the NCAA and International Olympic Committee (IOC) are unfair and "compromise all the work that has been done by women athletes."
"I don’t think it’s fair at all," the veteran former coach of Russian six-time world champion Yulia Efimova told the Washington Times.
"I think it really compromises the gains that have been made in women’s sports for the last 30 years. It’s going backwards. I think the NCAA and IOC have not really looked at the policy that directs this question."
Thomas previously swam for three years on the men's team at University of Pennsylvania but returned as a female swimmer this season after an enforced break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and has dominated several race meets since.
And Salo is of the opinion that Thomas's right to do that makes a mockery of the hard work that other female swimmers have put in over the years. to reach the same level.
"I know how hard the women have worked," Salo said.
"They’ve worked on par with men in terms of their effort but they can never match what men could do in the weights room or in the pool."
Salo continued, blaming what he called 'wokeism' as being responsible for creating an unequal situation amongst athletes, and said that many people who disagree with Thomas' right to compete are forced to stay silent for fear of reproach on social media or elsewhere.
"One of the concerns that I have is that under the circumstances of wokeism, those who are most affected are the most silent. They’re afraid to speak out. They know it’s unfair," he explained.
"I’m 63. I’m at nearly the end of my career in coaching and I can’t be canceled. So I can speak out against what I think is an assault on women’s sports."
Salo hasn't been alone in his protestations on the matter. Earlier in December, a USA Swimming official resigned in protest due to the issue, while a selection of unhappy parents of athletes at the Pennsylvania university have also made their feelings known.
Eleven-time NCAA All-American swimmer Jeri Shanteau also waded into the row, predicting to Fox News that issues such as this could lead to the "extinction of women's sports".
"My message this evening is a call to action," she said on 'The Ingraham Angle'.
"And it is that what you see right now in women’s athletics is going to be the extinction of women’s sports in general. This is the beginning phases of what this looks like. We need people to understand what is going on in athletics.
"We need people to understand that this is a complete discrimination of women, and what is happening that we do not have our institutions and our universities and our governing bodies standing by. Watching this unfold is complete neglect."
It has also been reported by the Daily Mail that swimmers from the university considered boycotting a forthcoming swim meet in January in opposition to the situation involving Thomas – but that they ultimately relented, partly in fear of being labeled 'transphobic'.