A long time USA Swimming official (pictured top left) has resigned in protest over University of Pennsylvania transgender student athlete, Lia Thomas (pictured top right) who competes on the women’s swimming team.
Lia Thomas, who was a three-year member of the men’s squad at Penn, joined the women’s team this year after she transitioned to a woman and completed the one year of testosterone suppression treatments, following NCAA guidelines.
Her addition to the women’s team has sparked outrage after she smashed records and qualified for the NCAA championships in March despite being an average swimmer when she competed against men.
In one race against women, she beat her teammate Anna Sofia Kalandadze in the 1,6500-yard freestyle by 38 seconds at the Zippy Invitational this month.
‘I don’t mean to be critical of Lia – whatever’s going on, Lia’s a child of God, a precious person – but bodies swim against bodies,’ said Cynthia Millen, who has officiated USA Swimming events for three decades, to The Washington Times.
Millen resigned on December 17 as she prepared to officiate at the US Paralympics Swimming National Championship in North Carolina, saying it dawned on her that she couldn’t ‘support this.’
‘That’s a male body against females. And that male body can never change. That male body will always be a male body,’ she added.
Millen called the winning margin ‘a lifetime in swimming.’
‘I told my fellow officials that I can no longer participate in a sport which allows biological men to compete against women. Everything fair about swimming is being destroyed,’ Millen penned in her letter.
‘If Lia came on my deck as a referee, I would pull the coach aside and say, ”Lia can swim, but Lia can swim exhibition or a time trial. Lia cannot compete against those women because that’s not fair,”’ she added.
Millen said the burden is on coaches and swimming officials to advocate for what she deemed ‘fair competitions’ in which biological women are not at a disadvantage.
‘People are saying, ‘Why don’t the swimmers just leave?’ Well, those are 19-, 20-year-old kids,’ said Millen. ‘It’s up to us. We’re the ones who are supposed to be providing this fair competition. We should be the ones who should be saying, wait a minute.’
She also said she was not the only official who believed Thomas’ addition to the women’s swimming team at Penn was unfair, adding that most were afraid of repercussions if they voiced their real stances on the issue.
‘I’ve talked to some other officials, and while they say, “Yeah, this is ridiculous,” I think a lot of people feel like they can’t do anything about it,’ said Millen.
‘But you’ve got to make a stand sometimes. If enough people walk off the deck, or if enough referees say no, it will change. It’s wrong.’
She added that USA Swimming officials were concerned with losing sponsorships, and feared portraying the organization as non-inclusive.
‘But this is not being inclusive. This is being deceitful,’ Millen said.
Speaking on FOX’s The Ingraham Angle, Millen also voiced her protest to Thomas competing in women’s events saying that ‘bodies swim against bodies’ and ‘gender identities don’t swim.’
‘Lia is a man who is swimming against women…Every time Lia jumps in the pool he’s competing against women. That is grossly unfair to all the women who have worked so hard,’ she told host Raymond Arroyo on Thursday.
‘Women biologically will never be faster than men.’
Millen added: ‘Yes, a Katie Ledecky can beat a lot of guys, but in the end, the [best] guys are going to beat Katie Ledecky. Absolutely. The differential is 8-12 percent faster. Equally trained, they will always win,’ said Millen.
‘The fact that that’s still happening, that women are still losing to biological males in their own sport, shows why we need more female athletes to speak up about this,’