Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas won an Ivy League Championship in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event Thursday, beating most of her competitors by about one lap, according to multiple sources.
Thomas, who competed on the University of Pennsylvania men’s team for three years before adopting a transgender identity, beat the second-place 500 free swimmer by seven and a half seconds and the third-place swimmer by more than ten seconds, according to an event summary.
The University of Pennsylvania has publicly of Thomas’ participation in women’s athletic events and released an unsigned letter of support for Thomas on Feb. 1 supposedly representing the views of “several” female teammates.
Sixteen members of University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team wrote a letter to the university Feb. 3 saying that Thomas’ participation was unfair.
“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, The Washington Post reported. “If she were to be eligible to compete against us, she could now break Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could never have done as a male athlete.”
One of Thomas’ teammates told the Daily Mail that she and her female teammates felt uncomfortable sharing a locker room with Thomas, who she said still had “male body parts and is still attracted to women.”
Thomas is expected to compete again on Friday in the 200 free race, according to ESPN.