Transgender Student Breaks Women's Swimming Records after Switching from Men's Team
Lia Thomas won the 500 Free while competing against Villanova
Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, broke records by joining the women’s team after switching from the men's.
Thomas competed for three years on the men’s team but later transitioned and moved to the women's team.
Males are required to undergo at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment before being able to compete in the women’s category.
For the 500 Free events in the male category, Thomas’s top time was 4:18.72.
Thomas won the 500 Free while competing against Villanova.
Thomas shattered the 500 Free Ivy League record at 4:35 while competing on the women’s team.
Thomas also shattered the women’s Ivy League record for the 200 Free, beating the second-place swimmer by over six seconds.
Thomas told Penn Today in June:
“Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport, and being able to continue is very rewarding."
Thomas, 22, began swimming at the age of five, according to Penn Today.
According to the Sports Councils’ Equality Group (SCEG), males have a physical advantage over females in sports, which decreases but is not erased by testosterone suppression.
Males who undergo testosterone suppression retain advantages based on height advantage and bone density.
As the Daily Caller reported:
Sports associations have struggled to balance the inclusion of transgender athletes with fairness for female athletes.
Transgender athletes were allowed to compete in the gender division of their choice based on gender identity in the 2020 Olympics, and the International Olympic Committee recommended in November that sports organizations stop requiring male-to-female transitioning athletes to undergo hormone therapy before competing in women’s sports.
The Daily Mail reported:
Lia's success at the event held last month has reignited the debate after sweeping the board when it came to 100m, 200m and 500m freestyle individual events.
Several people have voiced their anger over Thomas's recent success in the women's events.
Sport performance coach Linda Blade responded to Thomas' most recent event by saying: "Well of course women's records are being smashed! Lia competed as male for first three years in #NCAA. This is not right!"
"We need to return to #SexBasedSports! #SexNotGender to preserve fairness for female athletes."
One person said: "How many people were involved in this swim meet and not one of them stood up and said this is wrong?"