USA Artistic Swimming (USAAS), the national governing body for artistic swimming, has announced a new gender inclusion policy with no restrictions on which category an athlete is eligible to compete in.
The policy, designed by the USAAS Board of Directors, will give athletes the freedom to select which gender-based category they’ll compete in.
“Athletes of all gender identities have the choice to participate in all USAAS sanctioned and owned events in the category which they feel most closely aligns with their gender identity,” the release says. “Participants do not need to and will not be asked to provide evidence of hormone treatment or surgical intervention.”
Below is an outline of the different categories USAAS will offer:
Solo Categories: Girl/Woman Solo (athlete who identifies as a girl/woman), Boy/Man Solo (athlete who identifies as boy/man), Gender Inclusive Solo (open to athletes who do not identify as girl/woman or boy/man)
Duet Categories: Girls/Women Duet (both athletes identify as a girl/woman), Boys/Men Duet (both athletes identify as a boy/man), Mixed Duet (one athlete identifies as boy/man, one girl/woman), Gender Inclusive Duet (one or more athlete(s) who do not identify as girl/woman or boy/man)
The team events will be open with no gender restrictions.
The policy will come into effect for the first time this summer, with USAAS offering the inclusive option at the U.S. Junior Olympic Championship and the U.S. Masters Championship in 2023.
“As a transgender artistic swimmer, I was really nervous when I came out to my team, but the synchro community has been so incredibly supportive,” said Cameron Seidman, a USAAS member. “It is amazing to see USA Artistic Swimming put policies into place to make people feel safe and included, especially in a year full of anti-trans policies.”
The USAAS policy conflicts with the new set of rules implemented by World Aquatics (then FINA) last year, which disallows transgender women who transitioned after age 12 to compete in the men’s category in any of the aquatic sports. World Aquatics said last June it had plans on implementing a third “open” category.
USAAS says after a trial run this summer, the new categories will be offered at all sanctioned and national events in 2024.