by WorldTribune Staff, March 16, 2022
University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, is the favorite to win the 200 and 500 freestyle events at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, which began on Wednesday in Atlanta, Georgia.
The 22-year-old Thomas secured several records at the Ivy League Championships last month with wins in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyle events.
The mother of a female Ivy League swimmer said the reason no athlete has gone public to raise concerns about the dominance of a biological male in women’s swimming is that they are “frightened.”
The Ivy League’s female swimmers were pressured by their universities to say nothing to the press about Thomas, the anonymous woman said in a video released Tuesday by the Independent Women’s Forum titled “XX ≠ XY: The Fight to Save Women’s Sports” (see below).
“When the news started asking questions, the schools in each case across the Ivy League pulled their swimmers aside and said, you’re not allowed to talk about this,” said the woman, who said her daughter has competed against Thomas.
“They’re frightened,” she said. “They’re frightened of losing friends, they’re frightened of being kicked off their teams, they’re frightened of being told by their universities that they’re transphobic and hateful.”
Thomas swam for three years on UPenn’s men’s team before transitioning to female ahead of the 2021-22 season. Thomas underwent one year of testosterone suppression before being allowed to compete in women’s events.
“Holy cow, we’re going to talk about a male swimmer, a full-grown male, attempting to take down female-icon records, and taking a spot on an Ivy team from one of the Penn swimmers who had rightfully deserved it,” said the mother. “This person’s going to swim every relay going forward at championship meets, is going to take a position from a woman on the travel team, is going to take a space in every finals.”
When the 2021-22 season began, the mother said, “the girls thought that, of course this isn’t right. They thought that the universities would recognize that there was a problem, and that they shouldn’t be able to compete against a male, a full-grown male, in order to win races or have opportunities. As the year went on, it became clear that they weren’t going to change anything.”
She added that she has remained anonymous to avoid having her daughter suffer a backlash.
“I don’t want my daughter to have any repercussions based upon my desire to speak out for sex-based rights and representation for women,” said the mother. “She deserves to have a college experience unmarred by this issue.”
Sixteen of Thomas’s teammates sent a letter last month without releasing their names in support of USA Swimming’s tougher eligibility rules for transgender athletes. The NCAA declined to implement those standards for this week’s 2021-22 Division I championships.