Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is making “a secret legal challenge” to the sport’s ban against biological males competing in the women’s division, The Telegraph reports, with an eye on Olympic competition.
“…Thomas has asked the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland to overturn rules brought in by World Aquatics after the American became the first openly transgender person to win a National Collegiate Athletic Assocation (NCAA) Division I title,” the paper said.
Thomas hired Tyr, one of Canada’s top law firms, to do the legal heavy lifting.
The policy Thomas is targeting in the legal challenge allows biological males to compete alongside women only if they medically transitioned before age 12. Thomas’ collegiate title came prior to the policy’s implementation in 2022.
Carlos Sayao, a partner at Tyr, said Thomas is asking the CAS to overturn the ban in hopes of competing in the Paris Olympic trials this summer, according to NBC News.
“It’s been a goal of mine to swim at Olympic trials for a very long time and I’d love to see that through,” Thomas previously said in an interview with ABC News.
British swimming legend Sharron Davies told The Telegraph Thomas has a “ridiculous, massive advantage.”
“Hopefully, her case goes in front of CAS, CAS is sensible, the right thing is done, and then the whole thing is put to bed,” she said.
The deadline to enter the Olympic trials is June 4, but the case would have to be settled in May to allow Thomas time to qualify, which is unlikely, according to the New York Post.
Thomas reportedly hasn’t competed since World Aquatics implemented its current policy, despite it including an “open category” for trans athletes.
In October, the World Cup in Berlin did not see a single entry for the open division.
Riley Gaines, a former NCAA All-American swimmer who famously competed against Thomas, claims the lack of entries in the open division suggests trans swimmers aren’t sincerely motivated.
“Very revealing as to what the real motivation is,” Gaines posted on X. “Can’t cheat, won’t compete.”