Lia Thomas Nominated as 'Woman of the Year' by University of Pennsylvania
Bilogical male swimmer up for award to recognize 'female student-athletes'
Biological male transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has been nominated for the NCAA "Woman of the Year" award by the University of Pennsylvania.
Thomas previously competed as an unsuccessful male swimmer before recently switching to the female team to become a "champion" by "identifying" as a "woman."
Thomas has been at the center of recent controversies surrounding male athletes competing in female events.
Many argue that Thomas's "success" as a "female" swimmer proves the physical advantage transgenders have over women in sports.
The university nominated the transgender athlete for the award, which supposedly recognizes female student-athletes, according to an announcement from the NCAA.
"Established in 1991, the award recognizes female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in their community, in athletics, and in academics throughout their college careers," the NCAA nomination page reads.
After member schools make their nominations, their conference can then select up to two nominees.
Thomas, a former swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, won the 500-yard freestyle event at the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships Thursday.
The trans swimmer's participation in college women's swimming has brought on a national debate.
Most argue that Thomas has an unfair advantage over other athletes.
Riley Gaines, a swimmer at the University of Kentucky, tied with Lia Thomas for fifth place at the NCAA swimming championships.
Gaines said that a majority of females aren't okay with the trajectory of female sports.
"The majority of us female athletes, or females in general, really, are not okay with this," Gaines said on the "Unmuted with Marsha" podcast with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
"And they're not okay with the trajectory of this and how this is going and how it could end up in a few years."
She was referring to the NCAA's refusal to change the rules in order to protect competitiveness in female sports.
The University of Pennsylvania also nominated Iuliia Bryzgalova for the award.
Bryzgalova is a biological female who plays tennis at the school.