Despite the fact that Swimming’s World governing body (FINA) dashed Lia Thomas’ hopes of getting into the next Olympic games new details about her case keep coming out.
Thomas remained largely radio-silent following historic NCAA victory – which many believe was her downplaying her abilities in order to curtail backlash.
In a new interview, swimmer Riley Gaines described her ‘extreme discomfort’ at being forced into a situation where she would be sharing a locker room with someone who still had male genitalia and gonads.
In a new interview with Tucker Carlson, University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines accused the organizers of not disclosing that Thomas would be using the female locker room.
‘That’s not something we were forewarned about, which I don’t think is right in any means, changing in a locker room with someone who has different parts.’
‘So not only were we forced to race against a male, we were forced to change in the locker room with one.’
‘And so then we’re sitting there not even knowing who to talk to, who to complain to, because this kind of all happened behind the scenes and very discreetly.’
Gaines tied with Thomas for fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle NCAA championships in March.
It’s not all downsides for Gaines, following the backlash over Thomas’ participation in female division she received a lot of support:
‘I have received so much support, like it’s insane. Which tells me who the majority is, what the general population thinks even if you’re not an athlete, if you’re not a female. It’s like we said – common sense.’
‘You compete internationally together. Even if you’re not on the same collegiate team, you’ve probably been on teams together before.’
Gains also shared how she felt when she first heard of Thomas’ identity:
‘All of a sudden, out of nowhere, there’s this article posted that says, ‘Lia Thomas, swimmer at UPenn, posts 1.41 200m freestyle,’ which is a very, very fast time.’
‘I kind of just went about my training because I was like, this is a good thing maybe. But, turns out, two weeks before our national championships, the NCAA announced Lia will be competing with the females, and I was just like, mind blown.’
‘I think people forget that women’s sports were a protected group. The category was made because the playing field was not level by any means when you have them competing against men.’
Gaines is particularly salty due to the fact that when her and Thomas famously tied for fifth place in the women’s 200-meter NCAA championships in March, there was only one trophy, Gaines was told by the event’s organizers that the trophy would be given to Thomas, while hers would be mailed at a later time.