UK swimmer Riley Gaines appears in new campaign ad for Rand Paul

Karolina Buczek
Sep 28, 2022

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Riley Gaines, the former University of Kentucky swimmer, who spoke out against transgender women competing in women's sports, appeared in Sen. Rand Paul's latest campaign ad.

The ad, titled "Fairness," features Gaines saying that girls' sports dreams are "being taken away" by transgender athletes. As Gaines refers to the trans athletes as men, photos of Lia Thomas, a transgender athlete who swam for the University of Pennsylvania, appear in the ad.

Gaines competed against Thomas and tied for fifth in the NCAA Swimming Championships in March of 2022. Shortly after, Gaines told LEX 18 News that she felt she wasn't on a level playing field and felt defeated going into the championships.

"I just tried to go into it wanting to do my best, wanting to compete for that top spot, but it is a bit kind of like a defeating feeling for sure going into a meet where you're kind of automatically put at a disadvantage," Gaines said during an April 2nd interview with LEX 18. "I definitely think this past week, having a transgender swimmer win a national title for a female position, being a biological male, really just opens a whole new door to a whole different realm."

In Paul's campaign ad, Gaines refers to that experience.

"Sadly, few stood up for me. But Rand Paul is not afraid to fight for fairness for women and girls," Gaines says in the ad.

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