College Swimmer Who Competed as Man Now Dominating Women’s Category After Identifying as Female

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A University of Pennsylvania swimmer who competed as a man for three years is now dominating the women’s category after identifying as female.

Will Thomas competed as a man for the University of Pennsylvania as a Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior, earning a few wins and spots in tournaments. However, after taking a year off to transition, Thomas returned to U Penn’s team as a female swimmer named Lia and has been racking up far more top finishes than before.

According to Swim Swam, Thomas has come in and “blasted the number one 200 free time and the second-fastest 500 free time in the nation on Saturday, breaking Penn program records in both events.” The site added that Thomas “swept” the free individual events and helped earn first-place in the 400 free relay.

“Thomas began the day with a 1:43.47 (24.6/26.2/26.4/26.1) to win the 200 free,” Swim Swam continued. “Only half a second off the NCAA A cut, it is the second-fastest women’s 200 free time in the nation so far this season, and it would have scored in the A final at 2021 NCAA Championships.”

The site pointed out that Thomas beat his teammate by 6.1 seconds to win the 100 free event. Then Thomas won the 500 free by 12.9 seconds before anchoring U.Penn’s 400 free relay and winning the event by 2.4 seconds over Princeton.

In November, Thomas also grabbed two gold medals in the 200 free and 100 free “with margins of 5.4 seconds and 1.3 seconds.”

Swim Swam also noted Thomas’ other finishes this season, including three first-place finishes and a second-place finish and placing among the Penn women’s team records.

Thomas told Penn Today that there was some question about continuing to swim after transitioning. “The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid,” Thomas said.

But the question was quickly answered. Thomas added, “Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport, and being able to continue is very rewarding.”

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