Mark Foster praises ‘level playing field’ after Swim England restricts trans swimmers in women's events

Mark Foster

Mark Foster says trans athletes should not be able to swim in women's events

GB News
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 06/06/2023

- 20:40

The Olympian swimmer says women's sport isn't on a level playing field with trans athletes

Olympian Mark Foster has praised moves towards a “level playing field” in swimming after one of Lia Thomas’ former teammates spoke out against the trans athlete.

Paula Scanlan, who was a teammate of Thomas’ at the University of Pennsylvania, has slammed her alma mater for “shutting down” any criticism of the biological male.

Speaking to the Daily Wire, she accused the university of keeping student athletes “quiet” in an “effective” manner.

Thomas became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming title at the Ivy League Penn having previously competed on the male team.

She began transitioning in 2019 before joining the female team in 2021.

Thomas’ case has become a lightning rod for the debate over trans athletes in women’s sport, with Swim England announcing in April that it will stop transgender women from competing in its licensed female competitions.

Mark Foster praised the move, saying women’s sport is simply not being carried out on a level playing field when trans athletes are competing.

He told GB News: “What she’s spoken about is university students not making the team bus because of Lia, they spoke about being silenced by the university which is the big thing I took from this interview.

“I’m not in the women’s changing room but I could be, and I would probably be a very good swimmer and make a comeback!

“We’re looking at fairness and a level playing field here. Women had to fight for the right to vote and now all of a sudden, you’re going to have males choosing to transition, which I’m very happy for them for.

“But on an elite sporting level, you’re going to take away from women that will have had an opportunity to make a living from the sport.

“These athletes would have a massive advantage, but it looks like we’re finding a way.”

In June 2022, swimming’s world governing body Fina, now known as World Aquatics, banned transgender swimmers from women’s elite events if they went through male puberty.

The organisation also announced they are hoping to establish an “open” category.

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