Pennsylvania transgender college swimmer dominates competition, sets numerous records

A transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania dominated a recent women’s competition and set a handful of records.

“Lia Thomas delivered another record-breaking performance for the Red and Blue at the event. She won the 200 free with a pool, meet and program record time of 1:41.93. She won the race by nearly seven seconds and her time was the fastest in the country,” Penn said in a statement of Lia Thomas’ recent wins. 

Thomas dominated the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries and finals at the Zippy Invitational at the University of Akron last weekend. She earned a winning time of 4:34.06 in the finals, which is a new Ivy League record.

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Thomas also set a new program, meet and pool record in the 1650-yard freestyle, finishing more than 38 seconds ahead of the second-place contender. 

Swimming is “a huge part of my life and who I am. I’ve been a swimmer since I was five years old,” Thomas told Penn Today back in June. “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. Realizing I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like?” 

Lia Thomas notched a winning time of 4:34.06.
(Penn Athletics)

Thomas previously competed as a man at Penn for two full seasons, most recently in 2019. NCAA rules dictate that trans players must partake in one year of testosterone suppression before they can compete as women.  

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OutKick founder and co-host of “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show,” Clay Travis, joined “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday morning and noted that Thomas trained as a male swimmer and was “downright good” when competing as a man, which has carried over when competing against women. 

“I think it’s important to point out that this swimmer was for three years a member of the men’s swimming team and was downright really good. So this swimmer trained their entire life as a male swimmer, dominated. And then takes a year off and comes back as a women’s swimmer,” he told “Fox & Friends’” Steve Doocy. 

“All right, men – this is not sexism, this is biology – are bigger, stronger and faster than women. That is why we separate men’s and women’s athletics. So, if you are going to allow highly trained and highly skilled men to decide to compete against women, the women are not going to win. And this is a monster issue that threatens to become major for many other sports as well,” Travis added. 

Philadelphia, USA - May 28, 2019:  Even by Ivy League standards, the University of Pennsylvania's campus is very green and shady, as seen in this view along Locust Walk.

Philadelphia, USA – May 28, 2019:  Even by Ivy League standards, the University of Pennsylvania’s campus is very green and shady, as seen in this view along Locust Walk.
(iStock)

The New York Post editorial board also took issue with Thomas’ wins in her competitions as a woman in an op-ed arguing Thomas “is not a hero. She’s selfish.”

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The board wrote that the physical differences between men and women are “significant,” noting the average four-inch height difference and an average 32-pound weight difference between the sexes. 

“Thomas argues this is about acceptance, and the media hails her victories as ‘progress,’ but neither is true. We can accept Thomas as she is while recognizing that this is fundamentally unfair. Thomas must know she has the advantage yet still accepts the accolades — not very sportsman- or sportswoman-like,” the board wrote. 

Thomas serves as co-chair of Penn Non-Cis, a group dedicated to people who identify as nonbinary and trans, and added in her comments to Penn Today that “one of my big concerns for trans people is feeling alone.”

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“Even if you don’t pay attention to the news … [about] states proposing and passing vicious anti-trans legislation, it can feel very lonely and overwhelming,” Thomas said. 

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