Transgender Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, has been crushing women’s records and will likely take home the title at the NCAA Championships in March.
Prior to joining the Penn women’s swim team, Lia competed for the Men’s Team for three seasons as Will Thomas. At the Akron Zippy Invitational over the weekend, Thomas won 1650 by a whopping 38 seconds over his teammate, setting “Penn records along with meet and pool records,” according to Outkick.
In the 500 free on Friday night, Thomas won the race by 12 seconds and won the 200 free by seven seconds. While Thomas set Penn records, he did not beat current NCAA women’s swimming records in the same events – Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin (200 free), Olympic gold medalist Kaite Ledecky (500 free & 1650 free).
According to the Daily Mail, “the winning result also meets The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) standard required to qualify, which means Thomas will be automatically entered to compete in the national championship meet in Atlanta next March.”
Earlier this year, Thomas expressed gratitude for being able to compete in swimming as a transgender athlete.
“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 told Penn Today in June. “Realizing I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like?'”
In a statement this past April, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced its unequivocal support for the transgender community and expressed no misgivings about the prospect of biological men outcompeting women in their given sport.
“The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition,” the NCAA said.
The NCAA then touted the (highly questionable) concept of testosterone suppression as a valid equalizer for men competing in women’s sports.
“The NCAA has a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports,” the NCAA said. “Our approach — which requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports — embraces the evolving science on this issue and is anchored in participation policies of both the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.”
“Inclusion and fairness can coexist for all student-athletes, including transgender athletes, at all levels of sport,” it continued. “Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.”