The world governing body for swimming released new competition guidelines June 19 that restrict participation by transgender athletes.
Following months of study on the issue, a working group of FINA, the federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering international water sports competitions, recommended restricting biological males from women’s competitions, with some exceptions.
Under the new rules, male-to-female transgender athletes will not be allowed to compete in women’s categories in FINA events unless their transition began before the age of 12 or before they reach a specified level of puberty.
The policy also clarifies that athletes who previously used testosterone as part of a female-to-male transition could not compete unless this treatment was used for less than a year.
New competition category possible
Transgender athletes would be able to compete in an open competition category to be established by a new working group.
The recommendations were approved by the 71.5% of the governing body.
The decision follows a swimming season filled with controversy surrounding Lia Thomas, a member of the women’s swim team for the University of Pennsylvania who became the first transgender-identified athlete to win an NCAA Division 1 national championship. Thomas had previously competed as part of Penn’s men’s swim team and beat several female Olympians in head-to-head competition.