USA Swimming Sheds Light On Process That Led To New Transgender Policy – SwimSwam
USA Swimming published a new Athlete Inclusion, Competitive Equity and Eligibility Policy (AICEEP) at the beginning of February, outlining the requirements for transgender athletes to compete in its sanctioned events effective immediately.
The two pieces of criteria in the elite athlete policy (there is also a separate non-elite policy) are different than what we had seen in previously established policies, most notably the standard implemented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC previously allowed trans women to compete in the women’s division as long as they had a testosterone level of 10 nmol/L or less. USA Swimming’s new policy requires evidence that the athlete has maintained a testosterone level less than 5 nmol/L for a minimum period of 36 months, and has a second piece of criteria that states there needs to be evidence proving the athlete’s prior physical development as a male does not give them a competitive advantage.
The new policy raised many questions, and USA Swimming has shared insight with SwimSwam on the steps taken in developing the policy, why these are the criteria that the organization landed on, and how it will be enforced.
Below we’ll break down what the sport’s national governing body said in regards to certain aspects of the policy.
In November 2021, the IOC released a new framework on transgender athlete eligibility that pushed the responsibility of establishing participation guidelines to each individual sport’s global (and national) governing body.
USA Swimming had put a policy in place in 2017, but it didn’t specifically address participation at the elite level. So once the IOC published its new guidelines in November, USA Swimming begin talking to FINA in working to establish a new set of criteria for the sport.
USA Swimming began establishing the policy in early December of 2021, with the process of developing it taking right around two months with it ultimately being published on Feb. 1.
The organization said the policy was discussed with its Athletes’ Executive Committee (AEC), its medical committees, along with USA Swimming’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council, which has one transgender member.
STREAMLINING WITH FINA
USA Swimming felt the need to publish its new policy imminently with its competition calendar running continuously throughout the year. FINA, on the other hand, has a limited number of events, with the first swimming event of 2022 not until the World Championships in June.
So while FINA has yet to establish a new policy or a timeline of when it will do so, USA Swimming’s policy does state that it will adapt to FINA’s requirements once a policy is published. This can be found in Section 7 of the policy (19.0) in USA Swimming’s Operating Policy Manual.
WHY 5 NMOL/L?
The most noteworthy difference in USA Swimming’s policy and the former one enforced by the IOC was the testosterone threshold a transgender female had to be below in order to compete in the women’s category.
USA Swimming’s criteria states that there needs to be evidence that the concentration of testosterone in the athlete’s serum has been less than 5 nanomoles per litre continuously for a period of at least 36 months. The IOC policy was only 10 nmol/L, and didn’t distinguish a timeline as the one USA Swimming has.
The organization told SwimSwam that the 5 nmol/L limit was taken from the IAAF (World Athletics), which had one of …….