PUNTA GORDA, Florida–Governor Ron DeSantis on March 22, declared runner-up swimmer Sarasota native Emma Weyant the “rightful winner of the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Women’s 500-yard Freestyle” over biological male Lia Thomas.
Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania student, finished the event at 4:33:24, and the University of Virginia’s Weyant came in second with a time of 4:34:99 at the competition in Atlanta on March 17.
“We’re doing [this] proclamation, saying that Emma is the best female swimmer in the 500 freestyle because she earned that, and we need to stop allowing organizations like the NCAA to perpetuate frauds on the public–And that’s exactly what they’re doing,” DeSantis said in a press release. “And so in Florida, we’re gonna be very clear when they try to do things like that … when they try to counteract the ability of women to realize their dreams, we are gonna speak out about that.”
The NCAA had not responded to The Epoch Times’ requests for comment by press time.
DeSantis went on to say that women have “fought for decades” for “equal opportunities in athletics” and allowing a biological male to compete “erodes” those opportunities for women in sports.
“As a father of two daughters, I want my girls, and every girl in Florida, to compete on an even playing field for the opportunities available to young women in sports,” he said in January 2021.
In Florida’s full legislative session last year, the governor signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” a bill he said will “preserve fair opportunities for female athletes and may not be open to students of the male sex,” based on the student’s biological sex listed on an official birth record.
At the time, the NCAA said it would consider pulling championships from states that ban transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls’ sports.
“This did not deter the governor from signing the bill,” Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary said in a written statement. “On the contrary, it only strengthened his resolve to protect athletic opportunities for women and girls in Florida.”