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Lia Thomas Wins 500-Yard Freestyle at Ivy League Championships

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

University of Pennsylvania swimmer William “Lia” Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle race at the Ivy League Championships on Thursday. As Townhall has covered, Thomas is a biological male competing on the women’s swim team at UPenn. 


According to a report from Fox News, Thomas got off to a “slow start” but pulled “way ahead” by the midpoint of the race. 

“[Thomas] finished with a time of 4:37:32 and took home first place, giving the Quakers 32 points for the total team rankings. Thomas’ teammate Catherine Buroker finished in second place with a time of 4:44.83, and Penn's Anna Sofia Kalandadze finished in fourth place with a time of 4:47.54.

Thomas finished about seven seconds ahead of Buroker to pick up the victory and set a record at Harvard University's Blodgett Pool.”

A video shared to Twitter by UPenn Swimming and Diving shows Thomas finishing in first place and teammate Buroker finishing in second place.

Thomas reportedly raced in the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay with several teammates. Fox noted that Thomas “got a bit of a challenge” from Iszac Henig, a swimmer at Yale University, who is a biological female transitioning to be a male. I covered last month that Thomas was “crushed” in two races by Henig at a swim competition. 


“Thomas was a part of Penn's 800-yard freestyle relay with [Anna Sofia] Kalandadze, [Margot] Kaczorowski and Bridget O’Leary on Wednesday night. Thomas swam the first leg of the relay and got a bit of a challenge from Yale’s Iszac Henig, who is transitioning from female to male. Thomas swam behind Henig for much of the first leg before the next Penn swimmer jumped into the water.

Thomas was barely in first place after the first leg, finishing with a 1:44.50 while Henig had a 1:44.65.”

Thomas has been at the center of controversy this season. Late last year, Thomas made headlines after breaking several women’s swim records and reportedly “mock[ing]” competing on the women’s team. Thomas previously competed on the men’s swim team at UPenn for three seasons.

Several members of the UPenn women’s swim team have spoken out anonymously about the unfair advantage Thomas has over biological female competitors. This month, Townhall reported that 16 unnamed members of the women’s swim team sent a letter to their school and Ivy League officials asking them not to challenge the NCAA’s new policy surrounding transgender athletes, which could have barred Thomas from competing.


The Independent Women’s Forum, a non-profit organization focused on policy issues pertaining to women, wrote on Twitter that Thomas’ victory should “come as a surprise to no one.”

“Lia Thomas dominating the Ivy League swimming championships should come as a surprise to no one,” they wrote. “When you ignore the biological differences between males and females, women's sports is compromised.”

Sports publication Outkick tweeted that Thomas “destroy[ed] biological women on the way to an Ivy League championship” and that “there will be more destruction later today[.]”

Fox noted that Thomas is expected to win more races this week.


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