Virginia Tech swimmer Reka Gyorgy has released a statement regarding the NCAA allowing transgender Lia Thomas to compete in women’s events.
Gyorgy, who faced Thomas in the 500 freestyle race and missed the qualifiers by one place, explains the obvious to the NCAA, saying Thomas’ biological advantage is taking spots from other swimmers:
“Every event that transgender athletes participated in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet,” Gyorgy said.
“With all due respect, I would like to address something that is a problem in our sport right now and hurting athletes, especially female swimmers.
Everyone has heard and known about transgender swimmer, Lia Thomas, and her case including all the issues and concerns that her situation brought into our sport. I’d like to point out that I respect and fully stand with Lia Thomas; I am convinced that she is no different than me or any other D1 swimmer who has woken up at 5am her entire life for morning practice. She has sacrificed family vacations and holidays for a competition. She has pushed herself to the limit to be the best athlete she could be. She is doing what she is passionate about and deserves that right. On the other hand, I would like to critique the NCAA rules that allow her to compete against us, who are biologically women.
I’m writing this letter right now in hopes that the NCAA will open their eyes and change these rules in the future. It doesn’t promote our sport in a good way and I think it is disrespectful against the biologically female swimmers who are competing in the NCAA.
It feels like the final spot was taken from me because of the NCAA’s decision to let someone who is not a biological female compete,” she wrote. “I know you could say I had the opportunity to swim faster and make the top 16, but this situation makes it a bit different and I can’t help but be angry or sad. It hurts me, my team and other women in the pool. One spot was taken away from the girl who got 9th in the 500 free and didn’t make it back to the A final preventing her from being an All-American. Every event that transgender athletes competed in was one spot taken away from biological females throughout the meet.
It is the result of the NCAA and their lack of interest in protecting their athletes. I ask the NCAA takes time to think about all the other biological women in swimming, try to think how they would feel if they would be in our shoes. Make the right changes for our sport and for a better future in swimming.”