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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.
Blaze News spoke to a representative from Swimming Canada who said, in general, swimmers can "swim as their declared gender."
However, for national competitions "only select athletes that are eligible to compete" would be able to be on a national team, said Nathan White, associate director of communications for Swimming Canada.
In terms of age restrictions at events, the spokesperson appeared to contradict the local organizer's claim. The "organizer of the meet" sets the age limits, White told Blaze News.
Swimming Canada provided their registration requirements that stated that "a transgender Swimmer must meet international federation criteria prior to declaring availability for selection at any National Team selection event."
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.
Another 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.
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