50-year-old man competes against 13-year-old girls in swimming competition
A 50-year-old man was allowed to compete against teenage girls in a regional swimming competition in Canada, after swimming officials said they were simply going with national swimming guidelines.
A man named Nicholas J. Cepeda, who goes by “Melody Wiseheart,” competed against young girls ages 13-17 at the Richmond Hill Aquatic Centre’s Fall Classic hosted at the Markham Pan Am Centre, near Toronto, Canada.
Cepeda competed against nine other female swimmers, all of whom were 13 or 14 years old. Cepeda made a mockery of the “Girls 13 & over” age requirement for the 200-meter competition, as he was both the only male competitor and the only swimmer in the entire event over 17 years old.
Organizers of the meet were confronted by reporter David Menzies, who presented a copy of the swimming competition’s results. After initially denying the man’s participation, administrators admitted fault and agreed that Cepeda did actually take part.
The event organizer told the reporter that he didn’t want to get into a debate on gender.
“Don’t talk about gender for me because I do not know, because the registration [is] whatever they enter,” an organizer named Richard Chan said.
“This is a 13-years-old girls’ [competition] so the registration is Swimming Canada’s,” he continued. “Whatever registration [is] in Swimming Canada for that swimmer, whatever gender, it goes into whichever event,” Chan added.
Swimming Canada did not appear to have a clear gender policy on its website, but it has included an “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” page.
The government organization said it “welcomes full participation of all individuals in our programs and activities, irrespective of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.”
As well, it said it ensures that “equity, diversity and inclusion” are considered in developing policies and programs.
In June 2022, World Aquatics, then known as the International Swimming Federation or FINA, barred transgender athletes from competing against women in elite events, except under one condition: Transgender swimmers are allowed to compete against women if they have completed their transition by the age of 12.
A different Canadian swimming organization, Aquatics Canada Aquatiques, reportedly agreed with the decision. Despite FINA developing a category specifically for transgender athletes, the category was closed just two months after its existence due to zero participants joining the category.
Cepeda is also reportedly a professor at York University in the psychology department, under the moniker “Dr. Melody Wiseheart.”
The professor’s areas of research appeared to include “aging,” “children,” “youth,” and “cognitive processes” among others.
Swimming Canada did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Blaze News about its policy regarding men competing against women.
The organization did not answer any phone calls, either. This article will be updated with any relevant replies.
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