The Swimming World Cup was planning to have an open category separate from the men’s and women’s events but it has now been scrapped after no entries were received.
World Aquatics had created the category in a bid to be more inclusive for transgender athletes but confirmed “Following the close of registration for the open category competitions at the World Aquatics Swimming World Cup – Berlin 2023 meet scheduled for 6-8 October, World Aquatics can confirm that no entries have been received for the open category events.”
World Aquatics decided to ban transgender swimmers from the women’s event following research showing trans women retained a significant advantage over female swimmers even after reducing their testosterone levels through medication. Another reason for World Aquatics’ decision to create a new open category had followed the success of the transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competitions. Lia Thomas had formerly competed as a male swimmer in college without much success but once she transitioned she won a national college title in the women’s event.
Despite the category receiving no entries this time around World Aquatics have said that they are committed to persisting with it.
“The World Aquatics open category working group will continue its work and engagement with the aquatics community on open category events,” said a spokesperson. “Even if there is no current demand at the elite level, the working group is planning to look at the possibility of including open category races at masters events in the future.” they said in a statement.