Silence greets trans swimmer’s win at women’s event; UPenn parents demand changes from NCAA

by WorldTribune Staff, December 16, 2021

Since identifying as female and joining the women’s swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia Thomas has been shattering records and setting national-leading times in the pool.

Newly released video shows just how dominant Thomas, who competed for three years on the UPenn men’s team before transitioning, is in the women’s events.

Parents of UPenn women swimmers are demanding the NCAA change the rules that have permitted Thomas to dominate.

“At stake here is the integrity of women’s sports,” the parents wrote in the letter obtained by “The precedent being set – one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete – is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport. What are the boundaries? How is this in line with the NCAA’s commitment to providing a fair environment for student-athletes?”

Lia Thomas

One parent, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions for herself and her daughter, told “The swimmers have mixed feelings. Many of them want to speak up, but they don’t because they believe they’ll be ostracized. Everybody is scared. Parents are also scared that the kids will be harmed. We are paying $80,000 for this school. Their life will be impacted.”

Earlier this month, Thomas broke two national records when she competed in the female races at the Zippy Invitational. Thomas will be automatically entered to compete in the national championship meet in Atlanta in March 2022.

In the week after the Zippy Invitational, two of Thomas’s female UPenn teammates anonymously spoke out about their frustrations of having a transgender teammate, despite the entire team being “strongly advised” not to speak to the media.

One of the swimmers told sports website OutKick that UPenn swimmers were upset and crying as they knew their times were going to be obliterated by Thomas. “Usually everyone claps, everyone is yelling and cheering when someone wins a race. Lia touched the wall and it was just silent in there. When fellow Penn swimmer Anna Kalandadze finished second, the crowd erupted in applause.”

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