The media has heralded Lia Thomas’ inclusion as a transgender female competitor as a victory for women’s sports; however, the story on the ground continually delivers a different message.
Rapid Fire’s Savanah Hernandez caught up with a female Virginia Tech competitor ahead of the 500 freestyle national championship in Atlanta, Georgia — which Thomas handily won — and told the story of a teammate that was bumped by Thomas in her final opportunity to compete at the NCAA level.
Without holding back, the female swimmer laid out the evident differences that come with competing against a biological man in Thomas, and how deflating Thomas’ participation has been for women.
“It’s a common conception that we’re all very disappointed and very frustrated with someone who has capabilities more than us women have,” said the competitor. “To be able to compete at this level and take opportunities away from other women.”
“I’ve got a teammate who did not make the final today because she was just bumped out. It’s heartbreaking to see someone who went through puberty as a male and has the body of a male be able to absolutely blow away the competition. You got into it with the mindset that you don’t have a chance.”
As reported by OutKick’s Joe Kinsey, Thomas’ record-breaking performance on Thursday also broke the spirits of fellow competitors.
“Thomas’ time of 4:33.24 was a season-best for Thomas and ended up as the top 500 freestyle time in college swimming,” Kinsey noted. “Biological female Virginia freshman swimmer Emma Weyant (4:34.99) was the unlucky competitor who finished runner-up to Thomas in the finals.”
As Hernandez also reported, the Virginia Tech teammate referenced was bumped out of the 500-meter race’s final spot, in lieu of Lia Thomas’ inclusion.
“It’s hard to compete against someone with the aerobic capacity, muscle development, the body of a man,” responded the teammate. “It’s hard; it’s hard to think about it like that. It’s disappointing to see and frustrating.”
“She was very emotional, and it’s hard to see because it’s her last NCAA; she really loves that race, and it was just heartbreaking that she put all of her efforts into it today … one of the best times that’s she went in a morning session and still not make it back. It’s hard to see someone who works every day and every night still not compete against someone like that.”
Stay tuned with OutKick as we deliver more exclusive reporting surrounding Lia Thomas.
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