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I spent eight years swimming competitively, getting up at the crack of dawn and swimming for miles every day. During those years, swimming was my life. My younger sisters continue to carry the torch today and are reaching heights in swimming I never would have dreamed of achieving.
My love for swimming runs deeply, and it is still a big part of my life today as I continue to cheer my sisters on. There’s nothing like seeing my sisters’ grit and dedication pay off as they fight for their dreams in the sport. It inspires me every time I watch, and it breaks my heart to see people who should be protecting women like my sisters advocating for disillusioned boys and men to compete against them as equals.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) announced earlier this week that males who are subjected to harmful medical procedures such as puberty blockers and chemical castration before they turn 12 years old will still be allowed to swim as women in competitions.
While many on the left have tried to paint the move as a loss for transgender activists, FINA’s halfhearted decision doesn’t change the fact that this rule still allows men to swim as women while providing added incentive for young boys facing gender dysphoria to ramp up the transitioning process to compete on the team of their choice.
Even though some want to pretend there is no difference between male and female and say anyone can identify as whatever sex they want, men’s and women’s biology and strengths are very different. No amount of stunting a child’s natural maturity will ever change that, and as both a woman and a former swimmer, seeing FINA and other governing bodies allow boys to compete as girls is especially exasperating to me.
I may not have swum competitively in years, but I know what it takes to accomplish swimming goals. I grew up 20 minutes from town, so my sisters and I would wake up at 4:15 a.m. in the summer for 5:00 a.m. swim practice.
We swam for at least two hours every day – spring, summer, fall, winter – through rain and snow. Championship meets ran from Wednesday through Sunday, and we would go weeks on end without a day off. We attended training camps that entailed swimming at least four hours a day and would swim over 50 miles by the end of the week.
And yes, swimmers do cry in their goggles during hard sets. Why do you think we wear tinted goggles?
We were very intentional about what we ate, how much we slept, recovery, and heading into meets in the right mental space. I journaled the goals I wanted to achieve and took copious notes about how to accomplish those times. And every serious swimmer has a similar story.
I loved every part of the sport. I miss the intense practices and the feeling of accomplishment after finishing a hard set. I miss the camaraderie with my teammates and feeling the thrill of diving in for a race. I miss the elation of seeing the scoreboard and realizing I beat out a rival, qualified for a big meet, or hit that goal time I had been working tirelessly for.
Swimming isn’t just a sport to competitive swimmers. It is a way of life that is callously being stripped away by men who want to compete as female swimmers.
No matter what trans activists or woke corporate media try to tell us, there is indeed a difference biologically between males and females, and it creates distinct advantages in sports.
It didn’t matter if I was in practice as a 17-year-old girl swimming my heart out against a 14-year-old boy who hadn’t been to practice in weeks. His height, muscle mass, and testosterone gave him an advantage, and he could beat me.
It is not fair to women who have swam for years upon years and have given up social events, sleep, and their favorite foods to make it to where they are now. To allow men to swim as women invalidates all the hard work female swimmers put in to make it to that big meet or be recruited to swim at a top-level college. It didn’t just happen for these women. They sacrificed so much to make it there.
The NCAA, FINA, and anyone else who is supposed to be protecting female athletes should be ashamed of themselves for entertaining these fantasies and putting female athletes at risk, and FINA should not be creating guidelines that further incentivize the mutilation of young boys.
Bailey Duran is a writer who is passionate about faith, family, and traditional American values. She graduated from Liberty University in May 2021 with a B.S. in journalism.