A female University of Pennsylvania swimmer says the school’s athletic department knew for two years that a male competitive swimmer would transition to female and being swimming on the women’s team as Lia Thomas, yet no one spoke to the team about the upcoming change.
Further, the student accused the NCAA of not caring about female swimmers. The student made the claims to the Washington Examiner, speaking anonymously.
“We did not hear a single thing from the athletic department until just a couple weeks ago. Not even for the last two years, when they knew it was going to happen. They’ve known for more than two years now,” the swimmer told the outlet. “It was September 2019 when we learned of this. The athletic department did not talk to us once. They did not ask how we feel. They did not try and say anything or do anything to help us. They never even stopped by the pool once. They did not care, and they didn’t even try to help.”
The swimmer explained that Penn administrators did offer counseling sessions where swimmers could speak out about their concerns, but added that these were more like a consolation session since the administrators couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything to address their issues.
“I know some girls went and talked about their feelings about the whole thing with one of the administrators. And she was kind … it was more of a therapy session more than anything,” the swimmer added. “They discussed how they were feeling and the frustrations. They definitely listened to the swimmers, but it was more of a ‘There’s nothing I can do’ or anything helpful. They were there just to make them feel heard. That’s it.”
The swimmer added that the school has made it clear that Thomas’ feelings are more important than those of the biologically female swimmers.
“Lia swimming was a non-negotiable,” the swimmer told the Examiner. “The school made it seem like they were trying to say, ‘Don’t even bother to come to us with your concerns or anything like that because we’re not going to help you.’ Or, they don’t really care because ‘this is going to happen one way or the other.’”
She added that she’s not the only one who feels this way, and that the NCAA is condoning the behavior.
“Yeah, it’s definitely really stressful. There’s a lot going on. And it definitely weighs on my mind a lot because it’s definitely hard to overcome the feeling of feeling completely overlooked, as if the NCAA just does not care about us at all. And nobody cares about how this is affecting us at all,” she told the Examiner.
“It just seems like if you say anything, everyone is just going to attack you and call you transphobic, and it’s not even true,” she added. “We just want to have what we were promised by joining the swim team, which is fair competition and equal opportunities. It’s been really frustrating because we all agree, and I have yet to meet anyone or talk to anyone who thinks what is going on is OK. But yet somehow, these are the rules and allowed.”
The swimmer also said that reports that the team had “set aside their differences” were not true.
“They were just taking pictures of us at a training trip. They had not talked to us at all. I think they just said that because we were all training together,” she said. “But we can train together for two years and can still have differences.”
“We have to train together. I think they’re just taking the picture of us. We had to go on the training trip,” she added. “It was mandatory, and we have to train together every day. There’s no way to get around that.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, parents of swimmers are also speaking out against the inherent unfairness in letting a biological man compete against women.
Several parents told Fox News that they were concerned with the situation facing their daughters after transgender athlete Lia Thomas shattered two national records and competed in the school’s last home meet.
“It starts with the NCAA,” the parents of a Penn swimmer told the outlet, adding “I think the NCAA needs to change its policies, and find a way to include transgender women without trampling all over biological women.”
Sue Feldman, another parent of a swimmer, told the outlet: “I think that this is obviously an issue and they should probably just look at how they’re going to handle it and maybe handle it better in the future because right now they’re not handling it so well.”
At a Penn home meet, which included swimmers competing from Dartmouth College and Yale University, Thomas won the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle but came in fifth in the 100-yard freestyle, behind Iszack Henig, a biological female claiming to be a man who has not undergone transgender hormone treatment. As The Daily Wire reported, parents at the meet claimed Thomas seemed to be “coasting” and “barely trying” when winning the first race.
As The Daily Wire reported, the Ivy League conference stood by Thomas, stating that it “reaffirms its unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive environment for all student-athletes while condemning transphobia and discrimination in any form.”
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