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NC State Swimmers Sweep Day 3 Individual Events at Cary Sectionals

NC State Swimmers Sweep Day 3 Individual Events at Cary Sectionals


  • July 14-17, 2022
  • Triangle Aquatic Center, Cary, NC
  • LCM
  • Live Results
  • Results on Meet Mobile as “2022 ESSZ Speedo Southern Sectionals”

NC State swimmers dominated the third night of the Southern Sectionals meet in Cary, NC, winning all six individual events.

NC State’s Yara Hierath won her second event of the meet with a 4:16.88 in the 400 free. The rising junior also won the 800 free to start off the meet on Thursday.

Likewise, her teammate Abby Arens got her 2nd win of the week with a lifetime best and a win 59.04 in the 100 fly after winning the 200 IM on Thursday. Her teammate Kylee Alons was the only other swimmer under a minute, touching 2nd in 59.95.

Heather MacCausland made it three for three for the Wolfpack with a 1:09.17 win in the 100 breast. Her teammate Andrea Podmanikova took 2nd in 1:09.59. Both Alons and Podmanikova just wrapped up their senior seasons in Raleigh, but intend to return for a fifth year.

With only four teams entered in the 800 free relay, East Carolina Aquatics took the win in 8:33.00. The youngest two swimmers on the squad, Emily Armen and Adeline Cloutier, each split 2:06s.

The men’s side of the competition followed a pretty similar pattern. James Plage nearly got under the 3:50 mark with a 3:50.06 win the 400 free, with no one else within 8 seconds of his time tonight. That’s a new best for Plage, with his previous best of 3:51.41 coming from last summer’s Olympic Trials. Like Hierath, Plage won the 800 free on Thursday.

The Wolfpack men particularly dominated the 100 fly, taking the top three spots as those three swimmers battled it down to the final stroke. Luke Miller got his hand on the wall first with a 52.76 after going a lifetime best 52.64 in prelims. It was a battle of the Noahs behind him, with Noah Henderson just touch ahead of Noah Bowers, 53.05 to 53.06. The pair had previous lifetime bests of 53.40 and 53.41.

Another NC State soon-to-be fifth year, Rafal Kusto, won the 100 breast in 1:02.23, followed by Texas commit Will Scholtz of Lakeside at 1:02.99.

SwimMac went 1-2 in the 800 free relay, with 200 and 400 IM winner Baylor Nelson anchoring the winning ‘A’ team in 1:50.63, en route to a 7:40.99 win.

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Fina bans trans swimmers from women’s elite events

Fina bans trans swimmers from women's elite events

Fina, swimming’s world governing body, has voted to stop transgender athletes from competing in women’s elite races if they have gone through any part of the process of male puberty.

The new policy requires transgender competitors to have completed their transition by the age of 12 in order to be able to compete in women’s competitions.

Fina will also aim to establish an ‘open’ category at competitions for swimmers whose gender identity is different than their birth sex.

The new policy, which was passed with 71% of the vote from 152 Fina members, was described as “only a first step towards full inclusion” for transgender athletes.

The decision was made during an extraordinary general congress at the ongoing World Championships in Budapest.

Earlier Fina members heard a report from a transgender task force made up of leading figures from the world of medicine, law and sport.

“Fina’s approach in drafting this policy was comprehensive, science-based and inclusive, and, importantly, Fina’s approach emphasised competitive fairness,” said Brent Nowicki, the governing body’s executive director.

Fina president Husain Al-Musallam said the organisation was trying to “protect the rights of our athletes to compete” but also “protect competitive fairness”.

He said: “Fina will always welcome every athlete. The creation of an open category will mean that everybody has the opportunity to compete at an elite level. This has not been done before, so Fina will need to lead the way. I want all athletes to feel included in being able to develop ideas during this process.”

Former Great Britain swimmer Sharron Davies, who has argued against transgender participation in women’s elite swimming, said she was “proud” of her sport and Finaexternal-link.

She thanked Fina “for doing the science, asking the athletes/coaches and standing up for fair sport for females”. She added: “Swimming will always welcome everyone no matter how you identify but fairness is the cornerstone of sport.”

However, ‘Athlete Ally’ – an LGBT advocacy group which organised a letter of support for transgender American swimmer Lia Thomas in February, called the new policy “discriminatory, harmful, unscientific and not in line with the 2021 IOC principles”.

“If we truly want to protect women’s sports, we must include all women,”the group’s tweet saidexternal-link.

Swimming follows cycling in rule change

Fina’s decision follows a move on Thursday by the UCI, cycling’s governing body, to double the period of time before a rider transitioning from male to female can compete in women’s races.

The issue in swimming has been catapulted into the spotlight by the experiences of American Thomas.

In March, Thomas became the first known transgender swimmer to win the highest US national college title with victory in the women’s 500-yard freestyle.

Thomas swam for the Pennsylvanian men’s team for three seasons before starting hormone replacement therapy in spring 2019.

She has since broken records for her university swimming team.

More than 300 college, Team USA and Olympic swimmers signed an open letter in support of Thomas and all transgender and non-binary swimmers, but other athletes and organisations have raised concerns about trans inclusion.

Some of Thomas’ team-mates and their parents wrote anonymous letters supporting her right to transition, but added it was unfair for her to compete as a woman.

USA Swimming updated its policy for elite swimmers in February to allow transgender athletes to swim in elite events, alongside criteria that aim to reduce any unfair advantage, including testosterone tests for 36 months before competitions.

Last year, weightlifter Laurel Hubbard from New Zealand became the the first openly transgender athlete to compete at an Olympics in a different sex category to that in which they were born.

What did the panel of experts say?

Dr Michael Joyner, a physiologist and leading expert in human performance

“Testosterone in male puberty alters the physiological determinants of human performance and explains the sex-based differences in human performance, considered clearly evident by age 12.

“Even if testosterone is suppressed, its performance enhancing effects will be retained.”

Dr Adrian Jjuuko, an activist, researcher and lawyer

“The policy emphasises that no athlete is excluded from Fina competition or setting Fina records based on their legal gender, gender identity or gender expression.

“[The proposed open category] should not become a category that adds to the already existing levels of discrimination and marginalisation against these groups.

“I see this policy as only the first step towards full inclusion and support for the participation of transgender and gender-diverse athletes in aquatic sports, and there is a lot more to be done.”

Dr Sandra Hunter, an exercise physiologist specialising in sex and age differences in athletic performance

“By 14 years or older, the difference between boys and girls is substantial. That’s due to the advantages experienced due to the physiological adaptations in testosterone and the possession of the Y chromosome.

“Some of these physical advantages are structural in origin such as height, limb length, heart size, lung size and they will be retained, even with the suppression or reduction of testosterone that occurs in the transition from male to female.”

Summer Sanders, former Olympic and world champion in swimming

“This is not easy. There must be categories – women’s, men’s and of course a category for trans women and trans men.

“Fair competition is a stronghold and staple of our community – this approach safeguards the integrity of the existing sports process in which millions of girls and women participate annually.”

One of sport’s biggest debates

The conversation around the inclusion of transgender women in women’s sport has divided opinion both inside and outside the sporting sphere.

Many argue transgender women should not compete in women’s sport because of any advantages they may retain – but others argue sport should be more inclusive.

World Athletics president Lord Coe has said the “integrity” and “future” of women’s sport would be “very fragile” if sporting organisations get regulations for transgender athletes wrong.

The heart of the debate on whether transgender women athletes should compete in women’s sport involves the complex balance of inclusion, sporting fairness and safety – essentially, whether trans women can compete in female categories without giving them an unfair advantage or presenting a threat of injury to competitors.

Trans women have to adhere to a number of rules to compete in specific sports, including in many cases lowering their testosterone levels to a certain amount, for a set period of time, before competing.

There are concerns, however, as highlighted in Fina’s decision, that athletes retain an advantage from going through male puberty that is not addressed by lowering testosterone.

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FINA blocks transgender swimmers from female competition

FINA's new policy requires transgender athletes in women's competitions to have completed transition by the age of 12 ©Getty Images

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U of L swimmers gear up for another major event, one week after U SPORTS success

U of L swimmers gear up for another major event, one week after U SPORTS success

Now back at the Max Bell Pool, Head Coach Peter Schori said he is proud of the work his team did.

He was also glad to see spectators back in the stands for the first time in a couple of years after the 2021 competition was cancelled.

“We had athletes that were first-year last year that expected to go to U SPORTS that didn’t, and so this year was their first year doing that. We had athletes at the other end of the spectrum that came back for a final year and extended their careers to go to one final U SPORTS championship, and then we had some people in between there. This, you know, on top of how well we did, it was, I would say, a uniquely rewarding experience because it was different and so well-deserved by all of them.”

Apollo Hess was the standout star of the Pronghorns swim team, not only taking home two gold medals and one silver, but setting two U SPORTS records in the 50-metre breaststroke.

“It went way better than I had ever imagined, so yeah, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”

Hess has been swimming with many of the same team members for several years, predating their time at the university.

He says multi-day events such as U SPORTS can be gruelling endeavours, so having a great team like his is essential to get through it. Seeing his teammates also finding success re-invigorated him and boosted his own confidence going into his events.

Managing stress for the athletes is a task coach Schori takes upon himself.

After nearly six weeks, the strike at the U of L came to an end on March 21, 2022. The prolonged uncertainty lead to a lot of anxiety for students and student-athletes, who were unsure of what their immediate futures held for them.

READ MORE: ULFA accepts new agreement, bringing an end to strike

Schori says the Pronghorns were able to keep training during this time, which he believes was beneficial for several reasons.

“I think this is one of those times when we recognize the importance of sports because it allowed these guys to keep some sort of structure in their life, and I think that was a real challenge for a lot of the students during that time. They maybe got a tiny bit more rest than they might have otherwise, but the rest versus some of the stresses around that I think they even out.”

Hess says the Pronghorns swimmers spend about 21 hours per week in the pool between 11 sessions, as well as time in the gym doing weights.

The seven swimmers now gear up for the 2022 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials in Victoria, B.C., taking place April 5-10, 2022.

Through events such as these, Hess hopes he can work his way toward qualifying for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

READ MORE: U of L swimmers win five medals, set records at national championships