The recent news about a biological male turned transgender woman smashing women’s swimming records as a UPenn athlete has sparked reactions around the country, including from a former Division 1 swimmer for the University of Minnesota.

In her commentary posted on the National Review website, Jenna Stocker cited that sports have never been free from controversy, from the evolution of equipment and rules to race relations and political agendas.

“But nothing has threatened the future of sports more than transgender integration,” Stocker wrote. “Allowing biological men to compete as women against women destroys the fundamental concept of what makes athletic competition, specifically women’s sports, fair.

Lia Thomas

(Lia Thomas/Screenshot)

“By allowing an unfair advantage to one class of participants is abhorrent and inexcusable, delegitimizing the integrity of the competition,” Stoker wrote. “It is no easy task to reach the collegiate level in any sport, man or woman. I know because I was an NCAA Division I swimmer at Minnesota.

Stocker, who now is the managing editor of Thinking Minnesota, said her years as a swimmer taught her many life lessons, including perseverance, hard work, how to win humbly and lose gracefully, and being a team player.

Stocker is critical of the United States Swimming, the University of Pennsylvania, the NCAA, and the International Olympic Committee for all siding with trans women instead of real women and spells out what is at stake with people in power taking this position:

But what about before athletes even get a chance to participate? I grew up in a working-class family, and college was not guaranteed. My parents sacrificed to drive me back and forth to practices, many years of which involved two practices per day, as well as early morning carpools. They knew that my hard work and determination could lead me to a college swimming career, and this became even clearer when I secured a scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota. But what about the young women whose hopes for a college degree could depend on an athletic scholarship? What happens when this limited pool of money and resources for women is taken by a man? Where is the fairness and equality of opportunity in that scenario? The express purpose of Title IX, passed 49 years ago, was for universities, colleges, and schools that receive federal money to “provide equal athletic opportunity for members of both sexes.”

Taking away opportunities for women’s advancement through athletic and academic performance is a step backward, and the NCAA’s seeming refusal to acknowledge this shows it cares nothing about opportunity or fairness.

Who is speaking out now on behalf of the female athletes being robbed of their records, their place on the podium, and their chance at winning — or even simply participating?

Stocker concludes with dismay about the loss of an even playing field from girls and women.


“No matter one’s color, religion, politics, or socioeconomic status, in the pool or on the playing field, everyone has the same opportunity,” she wrote. “Winning or losing comes down to hard work, determination, commitment, and natural ability. Or at least it used to.”

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