Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas was considered unbeatable by many in women's swimming, mainly because the now-female athlete has spent three years swimming as a biological male. However, the unrivaled Thomas met her match on Saturday at an Ivy League 100-meter freestyle with Yale and Dartmouth.
According to OutKick, Thomas won the 200-meter and 500-meter races at Penn's final home meet of the season, but she finished sixth in the 100-meter to Yale's own Isaac Henig, a female-to-male transgender swimmer who crushed Thomas.
Henig finished the 100-meter race in 49.57 to trailing Thomas' 52.84.
Thomas' defeat didn't end there. In the 400-freestyle relay, Henig defeated Thomas again after swimming in 50.45 to Thomas' 51.94.
In June, Henig wrote in a New York Times column that he wasn't taking hormones and would remain on the women's team. "As a student-athlete, coming out as a trans guy put me in a weird position. I could start hormones to align more with myself, or wait, transition socially and keep competing on a women's swim team. I decided on the latter," Henig wrote in the summer NYT column.
"I value my contributions to the team and recognize that my boyhood doesn't hinge on whether there's more or less testosterone running through my veins. At least, that's what I'll try to remember when I put on the women's swimsuit for the competition and am reminded of a self I no longer feel attached to."
"I wasn't prepared for that. Everything is messed up. I can't wrap my head around this. The NCAA needs to do something about this. They need to put science into the decision and discussion," a Penn swim parent told The Daily Mail.
Another parent said: "A man just crushed the women's team."
Other parents told The Daily Mail that after winning the 50-yard freestyle, Henig proceeded to pull down the top of his swimsuit, revealing his chest, which had gone through breast reduction.
The Ivy League and Penn both made officials statements in support of Thomas, defending the trans athlete's record-breaking wins.
"Over the past several years, Lia and the University of Pennsylvania have worked with the NCAA to follow all of the appropriate protocols in order to comply with the NCAA policy on transgender athlete participation and compete on the Penn women's swimming and diving team. The Ivy League has adopted and applies the same NCAA policy," the Ivy League's statement reads.
"The Ivy League reaffirms its unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive environment for all student-athletes while condemning transphobia and discrimination in any form," the Thursday statement continues, issued two days before Thomas returned to the pool Saturday.
"The league welcomes her participation in the sport of women's swimming and diving and looks forward to celebrating the success of all of our student-athletes throughout the season," the Ivy League statement concludes.
Penn released a similar pro-Thomas statement affirming its "commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all" student athletes.
The university's statement added that Thomas has "met or exceeded" all the NCAA protocols for transgender female athletes over the last two years.
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