Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order recognizing runner-up Emma Veyant as the U.S. college swimmer’s highest national title, a competition she lost to transgender athlete Leah Thomas.
She won the women’s 500 yard freestyle in Atlanta.
But on Tuesday, Republican Gov. DeSantis said the result “undermines the integrity of the competition.”
Thomas, who swims at the University of Pennsylvania, won the title in four minutes and 33.24 seconds in Atlanta.
Veyant of Sarasota, Florida, who won silver in the 400m medley at the Tokyo Olympics, finished second, 1.75 seconds back.
DeSantis criticized the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for allowing Thomas to compete.
He said: “The NCAA is basically making an effort to destroy women’s athletics, they are trying to undermine the integrity of the competition and make someone else a women’s champion and we think that is wrong.
“They put ideology over opportunities for female athletes and I think there are just some people who are afraid to speak up and talk about what they do, but that’s what they do.”
Thomas swam for the Pennsylvania men’s team for three seasons before starting hormone replacement therapy in the spring of 2019.
In February, the U.S. swimming policy updated its policy to allow transgender athletes to compete in elite competition, along with criteria designed to reduce any unfair advantage.
The NCAA, which regulates swimming at the college level, ruled that it would be wrong to introduce new rules midway through the season, allowing Thomas to compete.
On Monday, World Athletics president Lord Coe issued a warning about the future of women’s sports if sports organizations misunderstand the rules for transgender athletes.
“I think the integrity of women’s sports, if we don’t get it right, and in fact the future of women’s sports is very fragile.” Coe said.