Several members of the UPenn women’s diving and swimming team voiced their support for transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in a statement, following multiple reports — reportedly from teammates — condemning Thomas’ participation on the team.
“We want to express our full support for Lia in her transition,” the athletes said. “We value her as a person, teammate, and friend. The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds.”
According to ESPN, the statement was not signed but a spokesperson for UPenn said the statement “represented ‘several’ members of the team.”
“We recognize this is a matter of great controversy and are doing our best to navigate it while still focusing on doing our best in the pool and classroom,” the statement continued.
Thomas — formerly known as Will Thomas — swam for the men’s swimming team for three years before joining the women’s program this year.
In November, Thomas smashed the record in the 200 and the second-fastest 500 freestyle events, with both times breaking UPenn program records. Thomas later won the 1650 free by a whopping 38 seconds, the 500 free by 12 seconds, and the 200 free by seven seconds.
Thomas’ participation in women’s athletics has drawn the ire of many who see Thomas’ massive victories as unfair, which includes at least two of Thomas’ UPenn teammates.
As reported by The Daily Wire, the UPenn administration might sue anyone who attempts to stop Thomas from swimming in the NCAA women’s swimming championship, with the Ivy League Championships scheduled for Feb. 16-18.
“I have a feeling that if USA Swimming changes their rules, they will be filing a lawsuit for Lia to swim, but they wouldn’t do that for us,” Thomas’ teammate told Fox News.
“They’re just proving, once again, that they don’t actually care about their women athletes,” she continued. “They say that they care and that they’re here for our emotions, but why do we have to be gracious losers? … Who are you to tell me that I shouldn’t want to win because I do want to win. I’m swimming. I’m dedicating more than 20 hours a week to the sport.”
She added, “Obviously, I want to win. You can’t just tell me I should be happy with second place. I’m not. And these people in Penn’s administrative department who just think that women should just roll over — it’s disturbing, and it’s reminiscent of the 1970s when they were fighting for Title IX and stuff like that. They don’t actually care about women at all.”
Thomas’ teammate discussed the inherent physical advantages that Thomas possesses, saying that a year of hormone treatment does not change that fact.
“It’s not just the difference between two girls and how one might have slightly larger lungs and that gives them a slight advantage … These are monumental advantages that biological males just develop through puberty, and it’s not something that a year of [hormone treatments] can suppress because they still have all the muscle mass they had from the last 20 years,” she said.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].