Friday, December 9, 2022

Lia Thomas becomes first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship

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ATLANTA — Lia Thomas took management within the ultimate 100 yards of the 500-yard freestyle to make historical past Thursday because the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship.

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Thomas, the University of Pennsylvania senior who entered the NCAA ladies’s swimming and diving championships as the highest seed, had a season-best time of 4 minutes, 33.24 seconds.

“I didn’t have a whole lot of expectation for this meet,” mentioned Thomas, a former male swimmer for Penn State. “I was just happy to be here and race and compete the best I could.”

Virginia’s Emma Weyant was second at 4:34.99.

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The race was shut till the ultimate 100 yards, with Weyant and Erica Sullivan of Texas pushing Thomas for the lead. The three swam in lanes three via 5, including to the drama, with Thomas within the center.

As was the case in Thursday morning in a preliminary win, Thomas was stronger on the finish. She gained the preliminary race at 4:33.82.

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Sullivan was third at 4:35.92. Stanford’s Brooke Forde was fourth at 4:36.18.

Thomas is also the highest seed within the 200 freestyle Friday and is the tenth seed within the 100 freestyle Saturday.

Thomas has adopted NCAA and Ivy League guidelines since she started her transition in 2019 by beginning hormone alternative remedy.

The inclusion of the transgender swimmer created controversy, even throughout the sport. There had been fewer than 10 protesters outdoors the Georgia Tech facility, and a few carried banners which learn “Save Women’s Sports” within the stands.

“I try to ignore it as much as I can,” Thomas mentioned. “I try to focus on my swimming .. and just try to block out everything else.”

Thomas spoke with ESPN instantly after the race however wouldn’t take part within the official news convention, as required by the NCAA. Since participation is required, potential motion may come following analysis by the NCAA’s swimming and diving championships committee.

Tennessee’s Julia Mrozinski gained the comfort ultimate with a time of 4:37.35. Northwestern’s Lola Mull was second.

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