Transgender swimmer smashes women's records while competing for University of Pennsylvania

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas smashed a number of women’s records for the University of Pennsylvania last month.

Transgender swimmer smashes women’s records while competing for University of Pennsylvania
© GiveMeSport Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas smashed a number of women’s records for the University of Pennsylvania last month

Thomas competed in a tri-meet with Cornell University and Princeton University on November 20th.

She recorded an impressive time of 1 min 43:47 secs in the 200-metre freestyle, and finished the 500m freestyle in 4:35:06.

According to the Daily Mail, these were new University of Pennsylvania records.

In addition, if competing at the NCAA Women’s Championships, Thomas’s times would have seen her earn a silver medal in the 200m freestyle and a bronze medal in the 500m freestyle.

Thomas also competed at the Zippy International this weekend, setting a new pool and meet record in the preliminaries of the 500m freestyle.

In the finals, she swam more than 12 seconds faster, finishing in first place with a time of 4:34.06. That time is currently the best in the country in the event.

It is unknown when Thomas transitioned from male to female, but she last competed in a men’s event on November 16th, 2019.

Thomas’s performances have provoked backlash on social media, but she is likely to have met the eligibility standards set by the NCAA for women’s events.

NCAA rules states that transgender women must have completed one year of testosterone suppression treatment in order to compete.

The women are in second place after day one of the Zippy Invitational.

Lia Thomas set a pool and meet record in the 500 free!

📰 https://t.co/8ECO8Dts6b#FightOnPenn pic.twitter.com/4V4wjhnkOf

— Penn Swimming & Diving (@PennSwimDive) December 4, 2021

Nine states in the United States, including Texas and Florida, have recently decided to ban transgender athletes from competing in female sports at schools, however.

The legislation, which applies to public school teams through high school, is part of a national campaign introduced by Republicans in 32 states. They claim it is protecting fair competition.

But, equal rights activists have argued there is no evidence that trans women and girls are dominating sports.

Ricardo Martinez, chief executive of the LGBTQ rights group Equality Texas, called the bill a “hateful, targeted attack on transgender people.”

Transgender MMA fighter Alana McLaughlin also claimed politicians in Texas are using trans kids as “scapegoats”.

“The intentions of right-wing politicians like Abbott and DeSantis are clear,” she said. “They are using transgender children as scapegoat and compromising their health and safety to score political points with their party and their constituents.

“Trans kids deserve equal access to sports. Trans people deserve equal access to public life.

“We deserve love and safety and inclusion, and make no mistake: we will win this fight, and history will not remember dinosaurs like Abbott and DeSantis kindly.”

Princeton Sweeps Ivy Tri Meet; Penn’s Lia Thomas sets new program records https://t.co/02HO931fNV

— SwimSwam (@swimswamnews) November 21, 2021

Thomas, a 22-year-old senior at the University of Pennsylvania, has previously spoken to Penn Today about her passion for swimming.

“[Swimming] is a huge part of my life and who I am. I’ve been a swimmer since I was 5 years old,” she said in June.

“The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid.

“Realizing [sic] I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like?

“Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport and being able to continue is very rewarding.”

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