Ariarne Titmus admits swimmers will just have to trust FINA “have their best interests at heart” after American transgender athlete Lia Thomas declared her intention to become an Olympian.
University of Pennsylvania student Thomas spoke publicly for the first time this week after becoming the first transgender swimmer to win an American college title earlier this year, winning the 500-yard (457m) freestyle championship.
Her achievement attracted critics from within and outside the US, Australia’s 11-time Olympic medallist Emma McKeon saying earlier this year that females racing biological males was “just not fair”.
Speaking at Wednesday’s launch of the Australian swim team’s Speedo suits for July’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, McKeon’s stance remained that a fair playing field was what they sought.
Australian teammate Titmus, who could defend her Olympic 400m title against Thomas at Paris 2024, was also diplomatic.
“In sport it has to be fair for everyone and I hope that decisions are made to make sure it is fair for everyone,” Titmus said.
“It doesn’t matter who that person is, everyone I race is a rival of mine.
“I love swimming … we all get to enjoy it and hopefully FINA come up with rules that make it fair and enjoyable for everyone.
“At the moment we have to trust what FINA and the authorities have to do. Hopefully they have our best interests at heart.”
Canadian soccer player Quinn and New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard were the first two openly transgender athlete to participate in the Olympics, in Tokyo last year.
In an interview that aired Tuesday on ABC’s Good Morning America, Thomas disputed those who say she has an unfair biological edge that ruins the integrity of women’s athletics.
“Trans women are not a threat to women’s sports,” Thomas, who swam on the men’s team for three seasons before switching, said.
“I intend to keep swimming. It’s been a goal of mine to swim at Olympic trials for a very long time, and I would love to see that through.
“We transition to be happy and authentic and our true selves.
“Transitioning to get an advantage is not something that ever factors into our decisions.”