While biological female competitors were kicking their legs and trying their damndest to touch the wall in the 500 freestyle at the Ivy League Championships with a time that would move them on to the finals, Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas used upper body strength to cruise to a dominating performance.
ESPN analyst Adam Giardino painted a picture for those of us as to what we were watching as Thomas destroyed the competition.
“You can see the…powerful stroke of Lia Thomas where there isn’t a whole lot of movement in her legs,” Giardino noted, failing to mention that Thomas is a male identifying as a female. “It’s a much quieter stroke, even though it’s more powerful than a lot of these other swimmers right now.”
Let’s cut to the chase here — Thomas was able to save the legs while using upper body strength to smoke fellow swimmers, with the closest competitor coming in over five seconds slower than Thomas.
.@ESPN: "You can see the …powerful stroke of Lia Thomas where there isn't a whole lot of movement in her legs. …it's a much quieter stroke even though it's more powerful than a lot of these other swimmers right now." @SaveWomensSport @AbigailShrier @KDansky @coachblade pic.twitter.com/fOr3piBep6
— Emily Kreps (@ekreps) February 17, 2022
It was this physical advantage that had Thomas’ teammates pleading with OutKick in December to tell their stories and what the sport was up against. It’s why an anonymous Penn swimmer told OutKick about Thomas leaving fellow teammates in tears on the starting blocks.
“They feel so discouraged because no matter how much work they put in it, they’re going to lose. Usually, they can get behind the blocks and know they out-trained all their competitors and they’re going to win and give it all they’ve got,” the source told OutKick.
“Now they’re having to go behind the blocks knowing no matter what, they do not have the chance to win. I think that it’s really getting to everyone.”
And now we have an ESPN analyst pointing out the physical advantages Thomas holds over her opponents, especially at the Ivy League level.
It’s that physical advantage that has Thomas headed to the NCAA Championships with the fastest 200 and 500 freestyle times in the nation.
“Well, obviously she’s No. 1 in the country because she’s at a clear physical advantage after having gone through male puberty and getting to train with testosterone for years,” OutKick’s source noted. “Of course you’re No. 1 in the country when you’re beating a bunch of females. That’s not something to brag about.”
Friday night, Thomas will look to win a second Ivy League title in the 200 freestyle. It’s not expected Thomas will need a final kick to beat competitors who enter the finals with a clear and present disadvantage.
Just listen to ESPN’s own analyst paint the picture.
Are you a swimmer or parent of a swimmer who would like to react to Thomas’ performance and inclusion in the Ivy Championships and the NCAA Championships?