USA Swimming to Follow IOC’s Transgender Policies for Summer Junior Nationals

All athletes competing at USA Swimming‘s 2020 Summer Nationals will have to abide by the International Olympic Committee’s policies for transgender athletes, according to USA Swimming‘s Board of Directors meeting minutes released last month, which is a change of policy from what was implemented in 2018.

In October 2018, USA Swimming‘s House of Delegates voted to allow athletes below Junior or Senior National Team level to compete in their “stated competition category” regarding whether they identify as male or female “for the purpose of athlete swimming eligibility, competition, selection and records.” Should someone wish to refute an athlete’s stated gender, their protest would be heard by the National Eligibility Appeal Panel, and the athlete would be allowed to continue in their competition category until the protest is addressed by the Panel.

USA Swimming confirmed to SwimSwam at the time of the vote that it will recognize standards (including national age group records) set by transgender age group swimmers in their stated gender category

But for an athlete to make the Junior or Senior National Team, regardless of age, USA Swimming‘s original decision included that they must meet medical requirements including (but not limited to) that of USADA’s drug-testing pool and the US and International Olympic Committee’s medical criteria for competition.

According to the most recent meeting notes, policies have been tightened to an extent. Now, transgender athletes – specifically those who identify as female – attending Summer Junior Nationals or higher competitions must abide by IOC policies.

IOC policies state the following:

  • Those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions:
    • The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.
    • The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition).
    • The athlete’s total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
    • Compliance with these conditions may be monitored by testing. In the event of noncompliance, the athlete’s eligibility for female competition will be suspended for 12 months.

USA Swimming also noted that it is “constantly monitoring developments” across all sports in this policy area in order to “to best prepare the organization for its first elite transgender athlete, specifically trans female.”

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12 months isn’t long enough. See wrestling, track and field

In the not too distant future most winners will be chromosomal males


I agree. This is the beginning of the end of women’s swimming. I’m all for transgender rights everywhere else, but not at the expense of the rights of cisgender female athletes. Even if they comply with the hormone levels for drug testing, they will have essentially been on steroids until their transition, giving them far greater size and muscle mass than a cisgender female.


Welcome to the World of Unintended Consequences.

Sadly, if this country decides to be in favor of “transgender rights”, then we swimmers will have to accept this undermining of fair competition, just as our cousins in track and powerlifting have had to. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to claim to be in favor transgender rights everywhere…except the field of competition.

Men “identifying” as women will win swimming events, if this policy is allowed.

And I’ll tell you something else: let this go on long enough, and college coaches will begin to recruit men who claim to be women, as a way to get champions on the cheap.


You make an assumption that transitioning is easy. You assume there isn’t a required narrative medical professionals look for to decide if someone can transition. You assume the medical field does not require an excessive number of consultations before THEY decide if someone can transition. You assume living as a trans woman would be fine; as though Transwomen aren’t the most assaulted and most murdered group in the nation. You assume everyone will be fine being sterile once they transition. (Did you even know that is often a side effect of transitioning?) Transition is NOT easy and people will not do it for no reason.

Another Anonymous

So what. This is about SPORTS. You know what is not easy, A actual female competing at such a high level vs a actual male who identifies as a female who dropped their T level along with whatever else.

Take ANY male swimmer who would be in 50th at US trials and have them meet these requirements. Then race the females and see what happens….


Exactly this. No one is going to cheat by lying about their gender identity, that’s completely ridiculous. It’d be easier to just dope.

The unoriginal Tim

No it wouldn’t. It’s way easier for a man to supress T and swim 23 for 50 LCM Free than to take all the steroids in the world and swim 21

M d e

I could have doped and still not be anywhere near the best man in the world at swimming or making the US national team.

If I had transitioned to being female unless I got around 7% slower I would be more than fast enough to be competitive on the world stage.

If I transitioned I would still be 6’2″ with body proportions incredibly rare for a woman, but pretty much average for a high level male swimmer.


People absolutely will! A full scholarship is work $200K or more, and there are 14 scholarships at each Division 1 women’s program. People are willing to put up with a lot of BS for 1/4 of a million dollars and a college education from an elite university… Worried about finding a doctor to help you? That won’t be a problem either, just look at the number of doctors helping people use performance enhancing substances.

Truth matters

Well Yabo male bodied trans are allowed to compete with 10 n/mol of Testosterone, roughly 10 times that of the biological women they are competing against. They don’t have to have SRS surgery so can return to manhood at their whim.They are fully intact males who benefit from superior male physiology and a testosterone fuelled puberty. If a woman had the same drug history as these male bodied trans they would be branded a drug cheat. Financial rewards in women’s sports are the same as men so why wouldn’t a mediocre male athlete chose womanhood. They don’t even have to shave their beards off.


An interesting opinion piece that has nothing to do with fairness to women athletes.

Bill Price

It’s not easy to rob a bank either. Whether transitioning is easy or not doesn’t matter. Even if every one of your points is true the advantage a life-long male has over a female in sport competition cannot be denied and will not go away. As a national governing body USA Swimming has a duty to ensure fair competition and to employ basic common sense. So far neither one of those is happening.


Why would u expect to remain fertile if u crank your reproductive system with opposite gender gonadotrophic hormones???


You assume you know it all. The push is for someone who is wanting to transition to not see anyone in behavioral health. The push is to make it illegal to counsel someone on these issues for fear of them deciding against any changes. The slippery slope started in the 1970s (tennis Renee Richards) and is now coming to fruition.


Lol as usual you’re just focusing on the emotions and how they ‘feel’ and not the science fact. Being better at sport has nothing to do with how anyone feels but who that person is.


Though I agree with your empathy, Your facts are skewed. I did a fact check. Would suggest all readers do. Especially regarding murder rates.

Truth matters

Male bodied trans only need to say they’re trans to be trans. SRS is not required so they are fully intact males who benefit enormously from their testosterone fuelled puberty and their superior male physiology. They have male muscle memory and UHT makes their bones stay thicker than women’s. They are even allowed to have 10times the Testosterone of xx women. Their is nothing at all ‘fair’ about them competing. In fact their inclusion excludes women and girls from their own sports. XY individuals should play with their physical equals not destroy women’s sport.

Joan Appleton

No, your numbers do not add up, female born die in numbers every single day through murder, rape and domestic abuse. I simply cannot stand by and say nothing about your view that trans suffer above all. At the same time in would not deny that mtf do experience painful abuse, in the real world this is true, however let me add that the factor which requires absolute acknowledgement is that women die in huge numbers every single day from the hands of men.


It’s not easy because it’s not normal.

Cheryl J Johnson

Nicely written, I’m going to borrow from you for my Facebook post.


Not just swimming though. It’s every sport. The IAAF have set a lower benchmark of 5 nanomoles, but that’s still more than two and a half times the normal level females can have. Even with Russia out of Tokyo 2020 for systemic doping, if the IOC think for a moment that other ethical pariah states like North Korea and maybe China won’t try to take advantage of what is now a massive loophole begging to be rorted for gold medals, world records and Olympic glory, then they’re kidding themselves. Check this out if you doubt me:


Wow. Already a done deal


Yeah, okay. This is being blown way out of proportion. Transgender athletes (especially male to female) are far too marginalized in our society where there will ever be a problem in which male to female humans are breaking women’s records, especially in your lifetimes. If a transitioning male decided to swim in the female category the swimming community would probably SLANDER this person. Also four years?! That’s longer than we’re given NCAA eligibility, and many transgender females don’t begin their biological transition process until they are WELL out of their parents homes. The odds of someone becoming so successful in the sport of swimming while managing being marginalized by this entire chauvinistic swimming community ? Slim to none. So, relax.… Read more »


Google Rachel McKinnon, a trans identified male individual smashing women’s cycling records. And there are many other males smashing women’s records in many sports. It’s already happening.

M d e

Men are already breaking world records and smashing women to bits in sports with less publicity.

Biological women won’t stand a chance.


Miss me with this. It is already happening.

Truth matters

Sorry, but you don’t seem to know what your talking about. Male bodied trans are already taking over women’s sports and setting world records because of the physiological advantages they have over biological women and girls. Look up Laurel Hubbard, Hannah Mouncey, FallonFox,Rachel McKinnon, foxy moxy trans bike racing team, CeCe Tefler, Jillian Beardon,Andrea Yearwood, Terry Miller,Mary Gregory, & hundreds more. The most vulnerable people are women because their rights are being trampled on to include XY athletes. Look at Olympic records since they started. Men consistently beat women by 10-12%. Male bodied Weight lifters have a 39% advantage over biological females. Transmen have no hope of beating men because they didn’t go through a testosterone fuelled male puberty or… Read more »


This should be considered a Title IX violation as the vast majority of USA Swimming events are held in subsidized government facilities.


I agree. Those who claim that there will be no impact on females are living in cloud cuckoo land.

It is difficult to be too critical of USA Swimming though. The responsibility for ensuring that women’s and girl’s sports are protected lies with the world governing bodies and the IOC.

Truth matters

Each organisation has the choice of segregating their sport from male bodied trans because it is not a fair competition if male bodies xy compete. The IOC offers that choice. Transgenders are part of the Big Pharma lobby group. They are using money gained to fight against women’s rights in general and will destroy women’s support.


Serious question: if you’re a dude with low-t (I’m assuming low-t is low enough to meet these thresholds) can you just say “I’m a chick for purposes of swimming” and continue living life as a guy? Is it policed? Do you have to rid yourself of your masculinity so to speak?


“The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.”

Truth Matters

So, it doesn’t make it right to compete as a twoman against biological women, who do not have the advantages of male physiology and a testosterone fuelled puberty. There are 2,006 differences between male and female bodies so men cannot change sex. Trans are still biological males with male advantage, so competing against women will exclude women from women’s sport.


Low T isn’t nearly enough to meet these standards. Even a low T male will have much much more testosterone than the cap for women’s competition


Although you’re right that more than low t is required to pass as female for these regulations it’s not really true that a man with low t would have much much more than the cap.

I have had low testosterone (clinical hypogonadism) a couple of times over the last decade and the lab reference range was 10.0-33.0 nmol/l but this can slightly vary from lab to lab. FYI the levels I had at 2 different times were 9 nmol/l and 5 nmol/l both below the 10 nmol/l limit. Even my second one would (barely) be within the stricter IAAF limit.

Truth matters

The lowest T level for a guy is 7n/mol which would mean such a person wouldn’t have to reduce testosterone to compete against women with T levels of .2 to 1.68 max. There’s no policing of trans at all. All they do is get a letter from dr to say what level of T they have. Also I’ve just found out that performance enhancing drugs make T levels appear low. Is anyone policing this situation – no.


IOC should have adopted the same regulation as the IAAF. They lowered the testosterone limit from 10 nmol/l to 5 nmol/l to bring it in line with their regulation for intersex athletes. If the 10 nmol/l is seen as still beneficial for intersex athletes many of who are partially androgen insensitive then 10 nmol/l would be even more beneficial for trans athletes who are fully androgen sensitive. There was also a study published recently that showed that 12 months is not long enough.

It appears that when the IOC put updating the transgender regulation on hold a few months ago it was mostly in order to avoid controversy leading into the Tokyo Olympics.


Have included the reference and a link to the Wiik, Lundberg et al (2019) paper you mentioned elsewhere here. It’s a good read. Even 5nmol/l is still way higher (at least 2 and a 1/2 times higher) than the average woman’s higest level. Coupled with the benefit of male puberty, it’s a huge advantage. Polite way of putting the IOC’s abject cowardice. 🙂 I can’t help but wonder if they’d have thrown their hands up in their air quite so casually if this whole issue was about doping in men’s sports? Are female sports so expendable? Because that’s what this whole ‘permissible testosterone’ thing boils down to. It’s what Ben Johnson got disqualified and banned for, and Carl Lewis and… Read more »


I mean I’m on your side but I still think it’s quite a bit more nuanced than you’re presenting it and I’m sure the IOC just casually thew their hands in the air saying women don’t matter so why should we bother?

Let’s also not act like endogenous testosterone is comparable to a person going out of their way to dope with synethic testosterone because there’s a whole bunch of ladies that have PCOS that you’d be labelling as cheaters too.

Swim Theorist

All sporting organizations should declare competition category is based on sex not gender. Women’s competition is for biological women (XX). That’s ALWAYS what women’s competition was intended for. Sex is a protected category, not gender.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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