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Standing with Shayne: one year later

February 17, 2017

Cristian Corbett / The Courier - The Men’s and Women’s swimming team stand together with Shayne Stone, pictured in the middle.

Last February, The Courier interviewed Shayne Stone, senior, after his announcement as an NCAA transgender student-athlete. In celebration of the one year anniversary of that brave announcement and his upcoming trip to the Midwest Conference Swimming & Diving Championships, we decided to catch up with Shayne for an update on his life.

When we last talked to Shayne he was in the process of finishing up his season on the women’s swimming team and had just been initiated into the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon. On both the team and in the fraternity he was easily accepted and supported. Throughout the past year, Shayne continues to stay true to himself while living life in the most fulfilling way.

“I have been extremely happy over the past year,” Shayne said. “After announcing my transition with the public I have received a lot of positive feedback, not just from my team but from professors, faculty, and my friends and family.”

Shayne had to make minor living adjustments in the fall of 2016 when moving into a quad of all males.

“I was very excited, but I don’t really know the living style that guys have,” Shayne said. At home, Shayne lives with his sister Evie. “I really over thought it, the guys I live with are great, but the biggest change I would say is that four guys take a lot shorter showers than four girls!”

The new living arrangement didn’t faze his quad mates though. “It doesn’t feel any different,” said teammate and quad mate Matthew Engebretsen. “It’s just a room full of guys being guys.”

Shortly after the 2016 spring semester, Shayne underwent top surgery to be able to swim for Monmouth’s Men’s Swimming and Diving program. “I thought I would have people stare and comment on the scars, but that hasn’t been the case.”

While he can now be known as the first transgender NCAA athlete to compete on both a men’s and women’s team, he has still posed with his own challenges to overcome. One of Shayne’s biggest fears after transitioning was how it would impact his swim season. He had to adjust his mindset when competing on the men’s side, but that didn’t stop him from giving it his all.

“At the beginning it was a lot harder with the changes. It’s difficult mentally being the smallest, weakest, and slowest of anyone on the team,” Shayne said. “The hardest part is looking at my times and comparing them to the women’s. The time would have gotten me 10th place on the female side now gets me 30th place, but I couldn’t thank my team enough for all the support they have shown me.”

The members of the swimming and diving program had nothing but praise for Shayne and his season on the men’s program. “It made no difference whatsoever,” said junior captain Riley Hess. “He’s still the little goofball that loves to joke around, and we have embraced it seamlessly.”

“I was nervous about incoming freshman and/or opposing teams being hurtful, but that hasn’t been the case,” said senior captain Cristian Corbett. “We have had absolutely no problems and I’m really proud to say that I’ve been a teammate of Shayne’s.”

Another important aspect of Shayne’s life on campus is his involvement. Outside of swimming, Shayne was welcomed into the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon.

“The biggest change in SigEp was getting a little, but I am very happy with the little I have. I was very open and honest about my situation to him and all of the new members. My news didn’t seem to hinder his idea of seeing me as an older male figure, which was one of my main concerns.”

Life for Shayne over the past year has been challenging, but also rewarding. With the incredible amount of support from those closest to him, the transition was made much smoother. Although just a short year ago Shayne was timid about what the future had in store, he has now gained a newfound confidence, and is incredibly happy with his changes.

“Life is more natural,” Shayne said. “I can walk around on deck with a bunch of people in a speedo and feel like I fit right in. I may not be stronger or faster than many but proving to myself that I can keep up as been the hardest but most rewarding challenge so far.”

As Shayne gears up for his final collegiate swim meet, The Courier would like to wish him good luck this weekend and in his future endeavors.

Cristian Corbett
Co-Editor in Chief

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