News and Commentary

Amid National Backlash, Female Athletes Hesitant To Weigh In On Trans Competitor Lia Thomas

Female athletes competing in the women's swimming championships appear unwilling to share how they feel about a biological man competing in female races and winning female titles.
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GA. — Female athletes competing in the women’s swimming championships appear unwilling to share how they feel about a biological man competing in female races and winning female titles.

Swimmers from across the nation gathered in Atlanta, Georgia for the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championship amid backlash over transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male who has been competing in female races.

The University of Pennsylvania swimmer clocked in at 4:33:24 in the women’s 500 freestyle finals Thursday evening, finishing first ahead of the University of Virginia’s Emma Weyant, a freshman.

Thomas will compete in the women’s 200 freestyle Friday and the 100 freestyle on Saturday.

Many of the transgender swimmer’s female competitors have been reticent to share how they feel about competing with — and losing to — a biological man.

Some swimmers who told The Daily Wire that they took issue with Thomas competing in their races said that they would consider chatting only after they had completed their NCAA races.

Others directed The Daily Wire to the media relations team at their universities, such as the University of Tennessee, which declined interview requests until after the NCAA championships.

Their reticence leaves a definitive hole in coverage of the culture-changing phenomenon.

Thomas’s presence is indisputably noticeable on the pool deck — aside from the fact that Thomas’s roughly 6 foot 1 inch frame stands taller than many of the swimmers, the athlete stands out from competitors due to the fact that Thomas clearly still has male anatomy.

Onlookers cheered as the transgender athlete was announced the winner of the 500 freestyle on Thursday evening, but the stands also resonated with a chorus of boos and yells.

Outside, pro-women organizations “Save Women’s Sports” and “Young Women for America” called on the swimmer’s attendees and participants to recognize the differences between men and women and to uphold the dignity of biological sex.

“Watching Thomas blow away the competition was both unsurprising and devastating,” said Chloe Satterfield, a freshman at Georgia Tech on the ground with Young Women for America. “I wasn’t shocked at all, but I feel like it left everyone with a feeling of defeat.”

Satterfield, who told The Daily Wire that she lost to a biological man who identified as a transgender woman when she played tennis in high school, said that “Thomas had an inherent advantage over his female competitors.”

“Everyone knew that we couldn’t change that, so what is anyone supposed to do,” she asked. “Seeing that win and all of the heartbroken athletes and families made me realize how important it is that we fight hard for equality in women’s sports.”

Young Women for America’s national director Annabelle Rutledge told The Daily Wire that it was “a no brainer” for her organization to show up and stand with female athletes.

“We will not stand by as women’s rights, opportunities, and very existence are being replaced by men just three months ahead of Title IX’s 50th anniversary,” she promised. “Allowing Lia Thomas to take ‘first’ place in women’s Div 1 swimming and diving championship is a slap in the face to the women who worked their entire lives to get to this moment.”

One of Thomas’ teammates, who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity, told the publication that the transgender swimmer’s participation in women’s athletics has “completely ruined the integrity of the sport.”

“It’s not necessarily an achievement in my mind,” she said. “Women’s records are separate from men’s records. It’s its own distinct category because no woman is going to be as fast as a man, and here is just completely — we’re just throwing away the definition of a record to fit into someone else’s agenda of what it should mean to them when in reality it makes no scientific sense to do so.”

The student added that she finds it “disappointing to know that the NCAA lacks the courage to do the right thing.”

“I think if Lia were to break an Olympian’s record, it would cause a lot of damage to the sport and to women, and I think it would cause more people to come out [against the guidelines], people that were afraid to speak before,” the student said.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Amid National Backlash, Female Athletes Hesitant To Weigh In On Trans Competitor Lia Thomas