— Published 17 August 2023

World Aquatics opens the door to transgender swimmers

World Aquatics is breaking new ground. Swimming’s world governing body has announced that a new category, known as “open”, will be created for transgender swimmers this autumn. It will be launched during the World Cup leg in Berlin, scheduled for 6 to 8 October 2023. This new category will initially concern only the 50 m and 100 m races, in all swims, but it could be extended to the longer distances on the programme. World Aquatics explains in a press release: “To be eligible, swimmers need an affiliation with a national federation and will be given the flexibility to participate individually, for their club, team or as national federation members“. Last year, the body banned transgender athletes from taking part in major international competitions, but did not completely close the door, explaining that it wanted to set up a working group to look into the conditions for an open category. This is now a reality. In March 2022, transgender American swimmer Lia Thomas (pictured above) caused a stir in the United States after winning the national university title in the 500-yard event.