Lia Thomas, the University of Pennsylvania swimmer who competed as a male for three seasons at the Ivy League school before joining the women’s team this season, set new records Friday night in Akron at the Zippy Invitational.
Thomas, who was a second-team All-Ivy League swimmer as a male, now owns the fastest 500m female freestyle time in the nation after setting an Akron pool record and lowering the Penn women’s all-time record with a time of 4:34:06.
How dominant was Thomas’ performance? The Penn sports information department reports Will/Lia set a pool record and meet record in the prelims and then went more than 12 seconds faster in the finals to beat her teammate Anna Kalandadze who had a time of 4:48.99.
That’s right, Will/Lia won the Zippy Invitational 500 free by 14.39 seconds.
At the 2021 NCAA women’s national championships, Paige Madden of Virgina won gold in the 500 free with a time of 4:33.61.
“Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport and being able to continue is very rewarding,” Thomas told the Penn student newspaper in June.
How is it fair for Thomas to be well on his/her way to dominating the 500 free at the NCAA Championships in March?
“A trans female treated with testosterone suppression medication may continue to compete on a men’s team but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one year of testosterone suppression treatment,” the NCAA’s policy states.
“A trans male who has received a medical exemption for treatment with testosterone is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing that team status to a mixed team.”