Transgender collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas has shared experiences from competing as a biological male on a women’s swim team in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, saying, “I am here to swim.”
The article called Thomas “the most controversial athlete in America” following a season that led to being ranked as one of the top swimmers in Division I women’s swimming, despite swimming in previous seasons with the University of Pennsylvania’s men’s swimming team as Will Thomas.
Sports Illustrated referred to Thomas as, “The shy senior economics major from Austin became one of the most dominant college athletes in the country and, as a result, the center of a national debate—a living, breathing, real-time Rorschach test for how society views those who challenge conventions.”
SI sat down for an exclusive interview with Penn's Lia Thomas, the woman at the heart of the debate over transgender athletes.
“I am here to swim,” she told @MileHighRobert https://t.co/aj5lgk7kdo pic.twitter.com/JR8eQK7aip
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 3, 2022
The report quoted Thomas as stating: “I just want to show trans kids and younger trans athletes that they’re not alone. They don’t have to choose between who they are and the sport they love.”
The senior swimmer won multiple titles at the Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships in February. Beyond setting a meet record in the 200-yard freestyle by a margin of nearly three seconds, Thomas clinched a pool record for the 500-yard freestyle.
Thomas is favored to win the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events at the NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championships that begins March 16 in Atlanta. Thomas also has ambitions to continue competing after graduating in 2022, with the essay noting Thomas is “on a course to be Ledecky’s teammate at the 2024 Games in Paris—and perhaps challenge Ledecky’s Olympic records.”
Unlike Katie Ledecky, however, Thomas was born a biological male. Thomas competed for three years on the men’s team prior to identifying as female and joining the women’s team.
In a recent exclusive interview with The Daily Wire, one of Thomas’ female teammates reacted to the controversial athlete’s victories.
“I think that there’s not really room for anyone to react to this situation in any way, other than saying they think it’s really progressive and the right thing,” said the swimmer, referring to the environment of censorship at Ivy League universities. “The one thing I will say is if you want to tune into the livestreams and watch these podiums — not just the races, the podiums — and you look at the faces of the girls who are second, third … you see a smile, but they can only hold it up for so long. You can kind of see a little bit of sadness knowing that maybe they would be first.”
Sports Illustrated was accurate in calling Thomas a controversial athlete. The questions regarding the swimmer have even reached the White House, with the Biden administration recently refusing to respond to questions. The Daily Wire previously reported:
The non-response seems to underscore the White House’s position on transgender athletes in women sports. Under the ironic pretense of advancing “equality,” President Joe Biden’s position permits biological males who identify as female taking away opportunities and wins from biological girls and women.
“During Biden’s 13 months in the White House, his administration has aggressively sought to ensure that biologically male athletes who identify as transgender girls are allowed to compete in female athletics,” Fox News reported. “Biden campaigned on passing the Equality Act, which would amend federal anti-discrimination law to make ‘gender identity’ a protected category.”
“The bill would require schools across the country to allow biologically male athletes who identify as transgender girls to compete in female athletics,” the report noted. “Although the bill has yet to become law, the Biden administration has sought to accomplish many of its aims through executive action.”