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Gratitude Is Owned To Brave “Roanoke 10” Lady Swimmers

Female swimmers of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference who recently concluded their championship meet need to be made aware of how the bravery of the Roanoke 10 benefitted them. It was only the Roanoke College Team who carried the battle cry for fairness despite being smeared with accusations of hate from local politicians and a college who allowed those same accusations of hate to be championed by those whom I can only assume do not understand the difference between facts and feelings. 

It is a fact that the team had experiences none of them were prepared to cope with. It is a fact that much of their season was spent under emotional turmoil. It is a fact that the coach they love and respect was vilified in public opinion when he had no control over the situation because of NCAA rules. It is a fact that the President of their college began every communication with unwavering support for the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community further fanning the misrepresentation of what the Roanoke 10 was protesting. It is a fact that the 10 were overly cautious to protect the identity of the Trans Swimmer. It is a fact that they harbor no hate toward this person. I can attest that the results of the ODAC Championship meet would have had very different results had the Roanoke 10 not stood shoulder to shoulder demanding fair competition. 

One man swimming as a woman would have removed four women from relays and three women from individual events. It is a fact that that would have been an injustice to those women. It is a fact that swimming results are determined by .01 of a second. With that said, look closely at the time comparisons between the ODAC Female Swimmer of the Meet and multi champion, Brynn Martinson and the trans person from Roanoke when he competed as a man.

50 FREE100 FREE200 FREE
Brynn Martinson23.60 * +50.90 * +152.19 +
TransPerson22.448.97147.46
*ODAC RECORD+ODAC CHAMPION

 

Times are facts. Every swimming competition has recorded times and can easily be found on the internet. At Roanoke College early timed practice swims were demonstrating that the trans person was not far off of previously posted times. Times proved to the women’s team that their quest for fairness was imperative. Hence the captains of the Roanoke College Swim Team banded together to unite their teammates demanding to be heard in their plight for fair competition. 

Had the trans swimmer not relinquished their desire to compete as a woman, Brynn Martinson of Washington and Lee would not have repeated her Female swimmer of the meet. She would not hold ODAC records in events the trans person swam and she would not have repeated her return to the top of the championship podium. Times are not negotiable, they are facts. It is a fact that without the strength and bravery of the Roanoke 10 led by determined captains, the 2024 ODAC championship Meet would have posted very different results. Those results would have extended into the NCAA D3 Championship meet in March. The times shown as previous times swam by the trans swimmer would have resulted in medal winning performances at the pinnacle of college swimming, the NCAA Meet. 

To the women swimmers of the Old Dominion Conference, a debt of gratitude is owed to the Roanoke 10. They alone shouldered the fight for fairness. Throughout their plight, they routinely spoke of wanting to win or lose of their own ability, not with the benefit of a man to carry them to victory. They fought this battle for you as well as themselves.

One small victory of fairness is but one small battle. The true fight is with the NCAA and the refusal to support women’s athletics. I implore anyone reading this to join the Roanoke 10 in their demand that women not be erased in athletics to support a biological lie. It is a fact that men are different from women. We have separate categories for competition for a reason. Let us acknowledge that fact and demand Charlie Baker, President of the NCAA do what is right.

–Joel Mullens, father of a Roanoke College women’s swim team captain; Greentown, Ohio

Firsthand stories from the “Roanoke 10” can be found in Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.

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