Update: MIAA Forms Subcommittee; Sidesteps Issue of Boys Breaking Girls' Records

The MIAA Swimming Committee had a meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the hot-button issue of boys competing on girls’ swim teams, and what to do about the fact that a boy set a Regional Meet record in the 50 free earlier this year in the state’s fall championship season.

The controversy swirls around the long-held interpretation in the state of Massachusetts that if a sport is only offered for one gender, then the other gender must be allowed to participate. The initial goal of this was surely to force boys’-only sports (like football and baseball) to allow girls onto the team, but as of late there’s been a sweeping movement to the opposite – boys have been joining girls’ teams.

One of the big culprits is field hockey, that is only offered for girls. It is becoming a growing problem for swimming too, though, as was evidenced by this year’s results.

The more on-point issue is what to do with the record of Norwood High School’s Will Higgins’ Girls’ South Swimming Sectional record in the 50 free, that broke a 26-year old mark held by Cynthia Kanogs. The MIAA Committee was able to side-step that issue by declaring that the MIAA does not, nor has it ever, maintained state or regional meet records. Those records are maintained by the directors of those meets.

On the broader issue of cross-gender, the committee didn’t make any firm decisions, but did produce a subcommittee to examine the issue further. This is not a new issue for the committee, but the last time it came up they pledged to monitor the situation. The occurances of this year, and specifically the media attention it has gathered, means that the monitoring has likely progressed into needing a solution.

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9 years ago

This isn’t field hockey….boys can train and swim with girls without the lunacy of the current situation. Its very easy to tabulate times by gender regardless of heats….we do this all the time in Masters swimming. The only reason this is an issue is the continued MIAA inaction on the issue….nothing more… This is same organization that does whatever it can to make it extremely difficult for club swimmers to participate in high school swimming…who does that benefit? .

9 years ago

I agree with newswim. There should be no issue associating time with gender. Look at the time standards! Statistically speaking, without gender association, boys will be breaking all of the girls records by the age of 19. That doesn’t seem fair to the girls who are deserving of records, does it? As for the coincident and unfortunate timing of the USA-S regionals and MIAA sectionals this year, surely we can manage to have the Massachusetts state organization coordinate better with the national (USA-S) organization as well. I am very disappointed that my son is being forced to make a choice between swimming, and high school swimming. The people this hurts most are the kids.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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