When Schuyler Bailar swims in his first meet for Harvard in the fall, it will be historic. Schuyler will become the first transgender swimmer in NCAA history.
Schuyler, who is transitioning from female to male is featured in the current issue of Swimming World magazine.
Before he transitioned Bailar was part of the 15-18 US National Age Group record-setting Nation's Capital Swim Club team in the girls 400-yard medley relay in 2013. Also on that team was World Swimmer of the Year and Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky.
Following his high school graduation in 2014, Bailar began his physical gender transition: female to male. There was never a specific moment when he knew that he was transgender.
It sort of just all came together over time as I stopped fighting myself and my identity.
Bailar was recruited to Harvard to be a potential record-breaking member of the women's swim team.
Bailar ultimately realized that no first place at Ivy’s or record-breaking swim could be more important than being himself.
His top surgery and choice to take testosterone do not mean that he hates his body. It simply did not match the gender he identifies with. Bailar has accepted his body and has had no problem changing its feminine aspects in order to love it more authentically.
Bailar is thrilled to be able to start fresh at Harvard this fall. He says the Harvard coaches have been “absolutely, unwaveringly amazing” about his transition. Harvard Coach Kevin Tyrell is looking forward to Bailar’s contribution to Harvard’s team and even beyond the pool.
I want Schuyler on my team for the same reasons I want all of my athletes. I believe he wants to push himself academically and athletically. When all of our swimmers and divers have this mindset everyone improves daily in every aspect of their lives. This process will contribute to them being outstanding members of society.
--Harvard Coach Kevin Tyrell
I have no particular goals set like I did on the women’s team. I want to do the best that I can and be a good teammate. I want to contribute somehow to the team – even if it’s not with scores. But, sure, I’m competitive as hell and I want to do some winning and beating too.
First he has to get back in shape so he can beat the times he achieved as a woman.
Schuyler plans to attend medical school after graduation from Harvard...and he plans to be an activist.
Come out. Be visible. Don’t be miserable. The world is changing and you do have options.
In February 2015, a group of Boston University School of Medicine researchers concluded that there is a biological basis for being transgender, undercutting the idea that trans individuals pick whichever gender they feel like. The researchers estimated that transgender people may number one out of every 100. In 2014, there were about 340,000 athletes registered with USA Swimming alone. Simple math hints that there may be thousands of young American swimmers facing similar struggles to Bailar’s. He says that a few of them have already contacted him for advice.
The USA Swimming Code of Conduct states
discrimination against any member or participant on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, and gender expression is prohibited (304.3.3)
We are obligated as a swimming community to accept all of our members—no matter what they look like, where they come from, or which gender they identify with.
--Emma Merrill, Swimming World, who admits that she struggled with pronouns writing the article