Harvard swimmer asks Congress to save women's sports

Harvard swimmer asks Congress to save women's sports

Harvard swimmer asks Congress to save women's sports

Abby Carr may've once been a gender denier, but she's not anymore.

Carr (pictured above), now a decorated female swimmer in high school and in the Ivy League, routinely beat the boys in competitions at her local pool when she was a child.

"I started swimming when I was seven, and I had been racing boys as long as I can remember. Up until I was 12, I was beating them," she told "Washington Watch" on Wednesday. "When I was 12, I had the pool record in the 200 butterfly, and it was faster than the boys' record."

But something changed, and it was not her competitive nature or her athletic ability.

"If you look at spreadsheets from the meet exactly a year later, it's drastically different, because the boys were beginning to grow in a way that I wasn't," Carr noted.

Being "the most competitive person out there," she did not take that well.

"My coach pulled me out of the water one practice where I was just increasingly frustrated," she remembers. "He was like, 'Abby, look -- you've been beating these boys your whole life. You're not going to beat them anymore.'"

She did not want to believe it, but the evidence was overwhelming.

"I wasn’t thrilled by the implications of that, but it was obvious to me that they were physically changing in a way I wasn't," Carr told program host Tony Perkins. "They were getting taller. Their muscle mass was increasing. They were getting bigger. I was not."

Against other female swimmers, Carr excelled in the years that followed.

Coming out of high school at Washington Christian Academy near her hometown of Germantown, Maryland, she was a U.S. Open qualifier. She won the Ivy League title in the women's 200 butterfly as a college freshman (2021-2022), earning first-team All-Ivy honors and helping Harvard to the Ivy League's team championship.

But had the natural course of competition been changed, she knows that her success in the water would have been drowned out.

"If you were to look at the times from the 2022 Ivy [League] Championships, my time is 15 seconds slower than the time that was put up by the top male swimmer," Carr reported, explaining, "that's over an entire length of a pool of a difference. Those differences were very apparent to me even at the age of 13," she said.

Those same differences, however, are denied by those who want biological males to compete against females in the name of transgender equality.

The intersection of courage and faith

Over the course of her sophomore year, Carr became a more experienced swimmer and more courageous in her Christian faith. That is why she spoke before Congress Wednesday, urging lawmakers to save women's sports.

Many are working to do that, but many others stand in the way. 

President Joe Biden, for instance, announced in April that he would veto the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, a measure approved by the GOP-led House to bar males from competing in female sports. He never got the chance, though, because the bill did not make it out of the Democrat-controlled Senate.

In the same "Washington Watch" program Wednesday, Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville (R) -- who coached girls' basketball at the high school level before his career took him to college football coaching jobs in the SEC and the Big 12 -- told Perkins the transgender movement is obviously revered in the Democratic Party; it is not an issue with sporadic pockets of support by senators from different parts of the country.

"It is over the top with Democrats, all of them, not just a few of them," Sen. Tuberville relayed. "All of them are fighting for biological boys to have the opportunity to compete anywhere they want. They are trying to do away with gender up here, and we're not going to allow it."

Peter St Onge, an economist with The Heritage Foundation, told American Family Radio Wednesday that "the entirety of American policy is at the service of the LGBTQ agenda."

St Onge, Peter (Heritage Foundation) St Onge

He described how the Biden administration's social policies in conservative overseas nations have become a threat to the American economy. The federal government, which no longer supports women's sports, for years was a driver in the equality efforts through Title IX, the civil rights law that banned discrimination based on sex in U.S. schools.

Now, the biological males in women's sports discussion threatens to dismantle years of efforts to gain females' equal footing with males in terms of facilities, media exposure, and opportunities, he said.

"I received a text from my stepdad this morning," Abby Carr noted in her interview Wednesday. "He said, 'I am so proud of you that you stand for your convictions.' I know what I believe as a conservative, and I know what I believe as a Christian."

Carr swam against University of Pennsylvania swimmer William Thomas, a biological male known as "Lia," during her freshman season.

"At the time that Lia Thomas was racing, I was a freshman and did not have the courage to stand for what I know is true and what I know is right," Carr shared. "Now I've gained confidence as both a conservative and a Christian. I know I'm ready to stand for it."

She is joined by a growing number of female athletes.

Former Kentucky All-American swimmer Riley Gaines has become more visible in media coverage since April, when she faced physical harm for sharing her beliefs on a college campus in San Francisco.

Just this week, Paula Scanlan, a teammate of Thomas' at Penn, spoke out for her sport in a conversation with The Daily Wire.

The growing threat to women's sports

The pushback so far has mainly been in sports like swimming and track and field and less from basketball, which is a more physical team sport that also receives more media coverage.

Sen. Tuberville, however, sees the growing threat as one with the potential to abolish women's athletics.

Tuberville, Tommy (U.S. senator) Tuberville

"You're going see more and more every year, and you're not going to have women's sports," he warned. "What's going to happen [is] parents are not going to let their young daughters get into a sport, whether it's in elementary school or junior high or high school, to compete against boys, dress in the same locker rooms, and take showers with them. It's not going to happen."

He said the decline will be slow but impactful, and it will have only one result: The deterioration of women's sports.

"It might not be overnight," he added. "It's going to be a slow deterioration, and you're going to lose it, and Title IX’s going to be destroyed."

Carr, after working so hard as a young child and reaching noteworthy success as a college swimmer, told Perkins it is difficult to watch as opportunities are taken away from herself and from other female athletes.

"It baffles me that we have celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, and yet it's as if we're going back in time," she laments. "We're having to fight the same battles that so many women have fought before me." 

Title IX celebrated its 50th birthday last June.

Like Tuberville, Carr believes there will be consequences as more biological males are allowed to compete in women's sports.

"We have to encourage other female athletes to stand true in their convictions," she said. "We have to fight for women's sports."

Otherwise, the very few spots that are reserved for women are going to be taken by male athletes.