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With coordinated tweets sent out at the same time Thursday, the Ivy League and the University of Pennsylvania made it clear that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is clear to continue smashing records set by biological female swimmers.
More biological female records could fall Saturday when the Penn swim team returns to the pool for a home meet against Dartmouth and Yale.
Thomas, who swam three seasons for Penn as a male & is said to have an advantage like “doped” athletes, is expected to pick right back up from where things ended in December at Akron’s Zippy Invitational. It was at that event where Thomas beat a teammate by 38 seconds in the 1,650 freestyle and had teammates in tears knowing they had zero chance to beat Thomas.
“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,” a female Penn swimmer told OutKick during an exclusive interview.
None of that matters to the Ivy League and Penn. Thursday, both organizations sent the same message: Tough luck. We don’t care. Get faster, ladies.
“Over the past several years, Lia and the University of Pennsylvania worked with the NCAA to follow all of the appropriate protocols in order to comply with the NCAA policy on transgender athlete participation and compete on the Penn women’s swimming and diving team. The Ivy League has adopted and applies the same NCAA policy,” the conference announced via a statement.
The Ivy League releases the following statement of support regarding Penn's Lia Thomas' participation on the women's swimming and diving team. 🌿 pic.twitter.com/wdEDW4ud5O
— The Ivy League (@IvyLeague) January 6, 2022
“The Ivy League reaffirms its unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive environment for all student-athletes while condemning transphobia and discrimination in any form.
“The league welcomes her participation in the sport of women’s swimming and diving and looks forward to celebrating the success of all of our student-athletes throughout the season.”
Penn, which sent out its own message at 2 p.m. just like the Ivy League, announced it has no choice but to go forward based on NCAA rules and paved the way for Thomas, who has the nation’s fastest 500m freestyle time, to most likely win a national championship for the school. Thomas also owns the nation’s fastest time in the 200 freestyle and set a new Penn, Akron pool and Zippy Invitational record in the 1,650.
“Penn Athletics is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all our student-athletes, coaches and staff and we hold true to that commitment today and in the future,” the school said.
“As a member of the NCAA, Penn is governed by the policies of the national governing body. Lia Thomas has met or exceeded all NCAA protocols over the past two years for a transgender female student-athlete to compete for a women’s team. She will continue to represent the Penn women’s swimming team in competition this season.
— Penn Quakers (@pennathletics) January 6, 2022
“We fully support all the student-athletes and coaches in our swimming & diving program and look forward to the team’s continued success this season.”
While the Ivy League and Penn are just trying to protect themselves from piles of lawsuits, swimmers are starting to go public with their feelings against Thomas competing against biological females.
In late December, Erika Brown, who won two Olympic swimming medals at the Tokyo Games, and is an active member of the U.S. National Team, spoke out against Thomas and transgender swimmers racing against biological females.
“I want to share something that’s been on my heart regarding what is going on in USA Swimming at the moment. I believe that we are all God’s children and we are called to love one another. I don’t want to create any hate, only speak up for what is right,” Brown wrote.
“We cannot allow transgender females to compete against biological women. A biological male goes through male puberty. Even when she has transitioned, she still has the physiology of a male. A few years of testosterone blockers and estrogen doesn’t change the fact that she will have more powerful muscles, a larger heart and greater lung capacity than a biological woman.
“It’s time to start standing up for women’s sports, before we lose what so many before us have fought for. I hope that this can help inspire others to speak up.”
To date, Brown, who won silver as part of the U.S. women’s 400 medley relay and a bronze in the 400 freestyle relay, is the biggest active swimming name in the sport to speak up.