by WorldTribune Staff, July 27, 2022
The biological male who competed against, and dominated, biological females in college swimming this past season has finally lost one.
Lia Thomas did not advance in the Ivy League’s selection for NCAA Woman of the Year after being nominated by the University of Pennsylvania, the college Thomas competed for in winning the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships.
Biological female Sylvie Binder, who competes in fencing for Columbia University, was chosen the Ivy League’s Woman of the Year award nominee, the league announced on Monday.
Monday’s announcement narrowed the field down from 577 to 151 student-athletes. The Woman of the Year Selection Committee will now select 10 nominees from each division and the top 30 will be announced in October.
The NCAA’s Woman of the Year award recognizes “female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in their community, in athletics, and in academics throughout their college careers.”
Thomas had far from a “distinguished” career before transitioning to female. For three years, Thomas competed for Penn’s men’s team and was never a contender.
Once Thomas moved on to the women’s team, however, it was a different story.
As the 2022 season progressed, Thomas broke the university’s school record in the 100 free (47.37), 200 free (1:41.93), 500 free (4:33.24), 1,000 free (9:35.96) and 1,650 free (15:59.71).
At the Ivy League championships in February, Thomas finished first in points out of 129 female swimmers, taking home first place in three events. Thomas won the 100-meter freestyle title in 47.63, which was a school and meet-record time.
Thomas also took home first place in the 200 free, setting meet and pool records with a time of 1:43.12 seconds, and in the 500 free where Thomas set a pool record with a time of 4:37.32. Thomas’ 500 free time at the Ivy League Championships broke the previous record held by Olympian Kate Ziegler, according to Sports Illustrated.
At the NCAA Championships in March, Thomas took home first place and set another Ivy League record in the 500 freestyle.
Sixteen of Thomas’s teammates on the Penn women’s team signed on to an anonymous letter which said Thomas had an “unfair advantage.”
“Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female,” the letter said.
Another teammate later added, “You can tell he is mentally ill. I saw the video and was so disgusted. Lia identified as a woman, but she is not a female. That is a fact. It doesn’t matter how you feel.”