Schuyler Bailar

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Schuyler Bailar
Schuyler Bailar.jpg
Bailar in 2017
Personal information
Full nameSchuyler Miwon Hong Bailar
Born (1996-05-02) May 2, 1996 (age 25)
New York City, New York
StrokesBreaststroke, Individual Medley, butterfly
ClubNation's Capital Swim Club, Sea Devil Swimming
College teamHarvard University

Schuyler Bailar is an American swimmer, and the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer. He is also the first publicly documented NCAA D1 transgender man to compete as a man in any sport. He was recruited by Harvard University and swam on the Harvard Men's Swimming and Diving team under coach Kevin Tyrrell; he was a member of the Harvard Class of 2019. Bailar was originally recruited in 2013 as a member of the women's team by Harvard Women’s Swimming and Diving head coach Stephanie Morawski. After transitioning during a gap year, Bailar was also offered a spot on the men’s team by coach Tyrrell, allowing Bailar the choice of either team. He elected to swim on the men’s team.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Bailar was born in New York City to parents Gregor Bailar and Terry Hong and is of Korean descent. Bailar grew up in McLean, Virginia, where he lived until attending college. Bailar attended Georgetown Day School from kindergarten through 12th grade. He has one brother, Jinwon, who also swims.[3][4]


Bailar started swimming when he was about one year old. When he was four, his family joined a neighborhood summer club and he began swimming for the Langley Wildthings at the Langley Swim and Tennis Club. The Wildthings are a part of the storied Northern Virginia Swimming League for which Bailar would eventually podium in their overall All-Star championships. Bailar swam for the Wildthings nearly every summer as his love for swimming grew. In 2005, at the age of nine, Bailar joined Sea Devil Swimming (previously known as the Capitol Sea Devils), a year-round USA Swimming sanctioned club team. Under coach Ron Larkin, his true love of competitive swimming began. Bailar competed in the Potomac Valley LSC of USA Swimming and quickly rose through the ladder of swimming championships. At age 10 he competed at the 2007 Potomac Valley Junior Olympics. He continued up the ladder to the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 JOs and the 2010, 2011, 2012 Eastern Zones.[3][5][6][7][8]

Bailar set school records in nearly every event at Georgetown Day School. Bailar’s broader high school titles include 1st place in both 2013 and 2014 in 100yd breaststroke at the Washington, D.C. Independent School League Championships (a.k.a. ISLs), the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Preparatory School Swimming and Diving League (a.k.a. WMPSSDLs) Championships and the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships (a.k.a. Metros). Bailar was a 2-time All American (NICSA) for 100yd breast, A Potomac Valley Scholar Athlete and a USA Swimming Scholastic All American.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][excessive citations]

At the national level of competitive swimming, Bailar won many honors in both high school and club swimming including setting a USA Swimming National Age Group record in the 400yd Medley Relay at the 2013 USA Swimming AT&T National Championships with teammates Katie Ledecky, Janet Hu, and Kylie Jordan. Bailar swam for the celebrated Nation’s Capital Swim Club (NCAP) at that meet; and the team won the 2013 USA Swimming AT&T National Championship title. Bailar's 100 yard breaststroke swim at the 2013 NCSA Junior National Championships qualified for the U.S. Open, the fastest national championship meet. Bailar is also multi-year qualifier for the NCSA Jr. Nationals.[22][23][24][25][26] In 2019, Bailar completed his college career posting the "third fastest" time for 100-yard breaststroke for the Harvard team in the 2018–2019 season, and winning his third Ivy-League Championship ring as part of the Crimson's highest ranked team since the 1960–1961 season, which placed 8th at the 2019 NCAA Championships.[27][28] Although Bailar began his college swimming career with low expectations, his final 100-yard breaststroke time ranked him in the top 15% of all NCAA swims for the season and in the top 34% of all NCAA Division 1 swims for the season.[29]

Activism and acclaim[edit]

Bailar is an advocate for LGBTQ rights and inclusion. He has assisted with and is featured in the USA Swimming cultural inclusion guides for both LGBTQ and Asian American athletes.[30][31] He also attended the NCAA Common Ground initiative, a group of selected athletes, coaches and sports constituents who met to discuss inclusion in NCAA activities. Bailar's primary activism is on the speaking circuit, appearing at schools, corporations and non-profits.[32] After graduating from Harvard in 2019, he began working full time as a public speaker.[33] Bailar was awarded the SMYAL Community Advocate Award for 2016 for his work as "a vocal advocate for LGBT rights."[34] The 60 Minutes profile of Schuyler entitled "Switching Teams" was nominated for the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.[35] On June 28th, 2017, Bailar was profiled by the International Olympic Committee in a series entitled IDENTIFY for his activism in promoting gender inclusion in sports.[36][37][38] Bailar was featured as a member of the 2017 Out Magazine OUT 100 and in another first, was the only LGBT athlete included in the elite listing for 2017.[39][40] In 2018, Bailar received several accolades: He was named to The Advocate's Champions of Pride list of Top LGBTQ activists in each state.[41] He was named to the Gold House A100 list of the most influential Asian Americans.[42] In 2019, Bailar was awarded the NBIC Best-of-the Best Visibility Award, hosted by the NGLCC for his "courageous and life-changing" example as an out and vocal trans athlete.[43] As a notable graduate of the class of 2019, he received the Harvard Athletics Director's Award for the athlete who makes an outstanding contribution to athletics through education.[44]

Health and transition[edit]

Bailar began struggling with mental health issues in the fall of 2012, his junior year in high school. He went to therapy and later enrolled at Oliver-Pyatt Centers, a residential treatment center for eating disorders, where he was first able to discuss his gender identity aloud. Bailar attended gender workshops at the YES! Institute in Miami, Florida, which he says helped him realize and come to terms with his gender. Shortly after his discharge from the center in October 2014, he began transitioning. He underwent top surgery (double mastectomy) in March 2015 and began hormone replacement therapy in June. He reported on his progress via social media, and MTV selected the Washington Post coverage of Bailar for 2015's Best Moments for the Trans Community.[45]


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  2. ^ Freed, David; Meagher, Jake (28 June 2015). "Schuyler Bailar, First D1 Transgender Swimmer, Joins Harvard's Men's Team". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b Strauss, Valerie (23 June 2015). "Recruited by Harvard for the women's swim team, he'll jump into the pool as a man". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
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