Roanoke College Swim Captain Bailey Gallagher, explaining the emotional manipulation she endured at the hands of school administrators. (screenshot/WSLS YouTube page)
by Scott Dreyer
As reported in Parts One and Two, ten members of the Roanoke College women’s swim team held an “NCAA — Save Women’s Sports!” press conference on October 5 at Hotel Roanoke, to draw attention to what they described as “emotional blackmail” and “neglect” at the hands of their school administrators, NCAA, and Swim USA.
Although huge headlines seldom spring from our corner of Southwest Virginia, this story has made national and international news. The New York Post, established in 1801 by Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, described the significance of the swimmers’ actions this way: “The very public aspect of Thursday’s event was in sharp contrast to the culture of fear and silence surrounding the issue of trans women in women’s sports.
“When The Post interviewed female swimmers who had to compete against Lia Thomas for an April 2022 story, the majority of parents and their daughters would not allow their names to be used in the story for fear of being shunned, shamed or even retaliated against.
“’This was a historic day,’ activist Kara Dansky, president of the US chapter of Women’s Declaration International, told The Post after speaking at Thursday’s press conference.”
Roanoke College women’s swim team (front row) and supporters at press conference at Hotel Roanoke, Oct. 5, 2023 (photo/Scott Dreyer)
Senior Team Captain Bailey Gallagher, 20, summarized the lifelong love of the sport all the girls alluded to but how they all felt blindsided. “I’ve been a swimmer my entire life, when my parents enrolled me in a ‘learn to swim’ program as an infant, and I have been swimming ever since. My first competition was at age 5, and now at almost 21, I see my journey coming to a close.
“This is my senior year, my final year to practice, race, and celebrate with teammates that I now consider to be some of my best friends. Swimming is more than just a sport for me. It’s a part of who I am. It has given me discipline, the ability to multitask, a great work ethic, a healthy lifestyle, and some of the very best people to call friends. Continue reading