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Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas Nominated For Woman Of The Year Award

Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas Nominated For Woman Of The Year Award

The University of Pennsylvania swimmer has been recognised after winning several high-profile events in the past few months.

Trans swimmer Lia Thomas has been nominated for Woman of the Year award at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Thomas has attracted headlines around the world after winning several high-profile events in the US college system.

In Ohio late last year, she set records in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle races.

Two months later, she won the 100-yard, 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle races at the Ivy League women's championships.

The following month, she became the first trans athlete to win an NCAA Division I title.

She finished first in the women's 500-yard freestyle event and recorded the fastest time of the NCAA season, according to CNN.

Sukhmani Kaur/Sipa USA

Thomas has since become the face of the trans athlete debate as many of her critics believe she shouldn't be allowed to race against cisgendered women.

The NCAA Woman of the Year panel will pick 30 honourees before revealing nine finalists. There will be three nominees from each NCAA division in the finalist section.

Once those nine finalists are revealed, the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics will then pick their winner and they will be revealed in January 2023.

The Woman of the Year award has been running for more than 30 years and recognises 'female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in their community, in athletics and in academics throughout their college careers'.

Lia Thomas has been nominated as a Division I athlete for Swimming and Diving by the University of Pennsylvania, where she has been studying.

Despite what her critics say, Lia says she has been swimming slower than when she was male and she doesn't believe she has an unfair advantage.


In an interview with Good Morning America, she explained how she lost muscle mass during her transition.

She said: "I don’t need anybody’s permission to be myself. You can’t go halfway and be like, 'I support trans people but only to a certain point'.

"If you support transwomen and they’ve met all the NCAA requirements, I don’t know if you can say something like that. Trans women are not a threat to women’s sport."

Thomas has asked her critics whether cisgender women who are competing should also be disqualified if they 'are tall, muscular and have more testosterone'.

She also confirmed she plans to continue swimming and aims to compete at the 2024 Olympics. However, the world governing body for swimming, FINA, announced earlier this year that trans women would not be allowed to compete against cisgendered women.

A total of 71 percent of voters opted to stop trans athletes from competing in women's elite races if they have gone through any part of the process of male puberty.

This means transgender competitors will have now had to have completed their transition by the age of 12 – i.e. have had male puberty suppressed by hormone blockers – in order to compete.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers 

Featured Image Credit: Good Morning America/ABC/Sukhmani Kaur/Sipa USA

Topics: Sport