By and large, female swimmers from the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships have remained silent regarding the biologically male swimmer who just won first place in the Women’s championship race.
But one of the biologically female swimmers who lost her place in the final because of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is finally letting her voice be heard.
“My name is Reka Gyorgy from Hungary. I am a 2016 Rio Olympian, represented Virginia Tech for the past 5 years, a 2 time ACC champion, 2 time All-American, and 3-time honorable mention All-American.” George wrote this in a letter to the NCAA that was also posted on Instagram.
She also said, with “due respect,” that she would like to address an issue in her sport today that is hurting athletes. She addressed the issue of Lia Thomas specifically.
Gyorgy wrote that she fully respects and even stands with Lia Thomas and that Thomas is not different from any other Division 1 swimmer who has worked hard their whole life.
“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,” George wrote.
Gyorgy wrote the letter with the hope that the NCAA would change the rules they have adopted for the future of the sport. She said that the way things are now is “disrespectful against the biologically female swimmers who are competing in the NCAA.
Gyorgy placed 17th in the 500 free race last week, which means that she did not make it to the finals and she became the 1st alternate. It was difficult for her because she is a 5th year senior this year. She has been in the top 16 and the top 8 before and knows how significant placing in those positions really is. This was her last college meet in her life and she was extremely frustrated at having the experience stolen from her by a biologically male swimmer. The focus of her frustration is with the NCAA who made the decision to let Thomas compete.
Gyorgy is tossing between emotions. She knows that she could have gone faster, and that makes her sad. But she is angry as well, and not just for herself. She is thinking about the girls who got 9th place and couldn’t swim in the final. This kept that swimmer from becoming an All-American. She’s angry because every event that includes a transgender athlete keeps one biologically female from advancing. The NCAA knew about all these issues and did nothing about them.
“This week has been more about reporters, media and division in our sport than things like two women going under 21 seconds in the 50 freestyle, 3 women going under 50 seconds in the 100 butterfly and the first woman IN HISTORY to go under 48 seconds in the 100 backstroke,” Gyorgy wrote in her letter.
She said that the problem with this race was not an athlete’s fault, but it was the result of the NCAA not caring about their athletes. Gyorgy wants the NCAA to think about all of the biological women in the sport of swimming and to try and empathize with them. She wants changes made in her sport and a better future for the female swimmers that will follow her.
The NCAA did not respond to requests for comments. But this is not likely the last criticism they will face. Let’s hope that a change is coming.