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Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas Sets New Record At Ivy League Championships

Transgender Swimmer Lia Thomas Sets New Record At Ivy League Championships

Lia Thomas has been dominating in the pool since joining the women's swim team, setting multiple records in her wins.

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has broken an Olympian's record at the Ivy League Championships.

Thomas has been the subject of controversy in recent weeks. Three years prior to transitioning, she competed on the men's swimming team, but she's since joined the University of Pennsylvania’s women's team, with her dominance sparking debate about eligibility.

Competing at the Ivy League Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, Thomas posted the fastest split in the 800-yard freestyle relay before securing her first individual title in the 500yd freestyle with a winning time of 4:37.32 — more than seven seconds quicker than her teammate Catherine Buroker in second place.

Her performance set a new record at Harvard University's Blodgett Pool, beating Olympian Kate Ziegler. Even then, Thomas's record-breaking didn't stop here — with a winning time of 1:43:12 in the 200yd freestyle, she set another record.

Mike Schnur, Thomas's coach at the university, described her as 'the bravest kid that he’s ever met. All of the attention that has been bestowed upon her says that she has unbelievable courage', according to ESPN Plus commentator Alex Vispol.

'And he has known Lia for a long time. And the one thing that has always shined through when it comes to Lia is her love of swimming and how much she loves the sport. And that should be one of the main takeaways, and the love that somebody has for a sport for that to be so big in this sport should certainly be appreciated,' he added.

While her supporters have congratulated Thomas on her record-breaking victories, critics have voiced concerns about her having an 'unfair advantage' over other women. 'Record breaking is one part of the destruction of women’s sport. Some female WRs in athletics are ‘fossilised’ bc of doping — no female can now get near them. The exciting goal of breaking a WR removed for all females. Same now w males taking female records,' two-time Olympian Mara Yamauchi tweeted.

Whereas Dr. James Barrett, the director of the Adult Gender Identity Clinic in London, told The New York Times, 'Trans women by and large aren’t winning across the board. It’s not obvious that there’s necessarily an advantage at all.'

While USA Swimming recently updated its policy regarding transgender competitors, who are now required to have small levels of testosterone for 36 months before being eligible, the NCAA said its guidance wouldn't be altered at this stage because it could have 'unfair and potentially detrimental impacts on schools and student-athletes intending to compete in 2022 NCAA women's swimming championships'.

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Featured Image Credit: ESPN/@PennSwimDive/Twitter

Topics: LGBTQ, Sport