A transgender swimmer at a New Jersey college has ignited controversy after she broke a women’s school record last weekend after three years competing on the men’s team.
Meghan Cortez-Fields, a senior at Ramapo College of New Jersey, set the new record and took home first place in the 100-yard butterfly at a meet in Pennsylvania last Saturday.
Her time of 57.22 was 0.68 seconds faster than the previous record set in 2017, the school’s latest figures show.
Cortez-Fields, who hails from College Station, Texas, also won the 200-yard individual medley at the Cougar Splash hosted by Misericordia University.
The school initially celebrated her new record in a congratulatory Instagram post, but swiftly deleted it after critics started slamming Cortez-Fields’ win — specifically pointing to how she had only joined the women’s team this season.
Former collegiate swimmer-turned-activist, Riley Gaines, was among those to lead the outrage, posting on X that Cortez-Fields had gone from a “less than mediocre male swimmer to a record smasher competing against the women.”
“Those who choose to remain blind to the injustice of allowing mediocre male athletes to become record-breaking female athletes are either incompetent or misogynists. There is no in between anymore,” Gaines added in an interview with Fox News.
“The incident at Ramapo College shouldn’t be a shock to anyone considering we’ve seen virtually the same story time and time again with no people in leadership positions willing to take a stand for women.”
The Independent Council on Womenâs Sports (ICONS) also chimed in on X, accusing Cortez-Fields of having âerased a womanâs name from the record books.â
Ramapo College, however, defended Cortez-Fields, saying the school follows NCAA policies and that it “supports all of our student athletes.”
Ramapo College swimmer in NJ goes from less than mediocre male swimmer to a record smasher competing against the women. Hm, where have we seen this before? #SaveWomensSports pic.twitter.com/4py4cHokkJ
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) November 19, 2023
“There are strict measures that the NCAA makes trans athletes go through. You have to meet certain criteria to show that you are able to, as a trans athlete, compete with women,” a spokeswoman said.
“We are an affiliate member of the NCAA. We are in compliance. We have done everything the NCAA says needs to be done regarding trans athletes competing on the team. All of the steps were taken, and documentation was provided for approval of Meghan’s participation.”
The school said the original Instagram post was deleted by a student “who wanted to protect their teammate from insulting comments.”
“We remain concerned about the vitriol that we have seen on social media and the threats of violence against some college members. We are going to continue to post all of our team and individual athlete’s student achievements for all of our athletics programs, as we always do,” the spokeswoman added.
The backlash against Ramapo’s swimmer comes after the University of Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas ignited a firestorm last year after she started winning meets after competing for three years on the menâs squad.
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