A second member of the University of Pennsylvania’s swim team has reportedly come forward to speak about the calamitous effect teammate Lia Thomas, a biological man, has had on the team while Thomas smashes women’s records in competitions and leaves the women far behind. The teammate told Outkick that Thomas bragged after winning the 200 freestyle at the University of Akron Zippy Invitational, “That was so easy, I was cruising,” and after winning the 500 freestyle but disappointed with the time, boasted, “At least I’m still No. 1 in the country” in front of teammates.
In November, Thomas smashed the record in the 200 free time and the second-fastest 500 free time, with both times breaking Penn program records. Over the weekend, Thomas won the 1650 free by a whopping 38 seconds, the 500 free by 12 seconds, and the 200 free by seven seconds.
“Well, obviously she’s No. 1 in the country because she’s at a clear physical advantage after having gone through male puberty and getting to train with testosterone for years. Of course you’re No. 1 in the country when you’re beating a bunch of females. That’s not something to brag about,” the teammate commented.
The teammate said her fellow women teammates were crying on the Akron pool deck because they knew they had no chance of winning with Thomas competing. She said, “They feel so discouraged because no matter how much work they put in it, they’re going to lose. Usually, they can get behind the blocks and know they out-trained all their competitors and they’re going to win and give it all they’ve got. Now they’re having to go behind the blocks knowing no matter what, they do not have the chance to win. I think that it’s really getting to everyone.”
“After just five meets and the Akron Invitational, Thomas has not just destroyed opponents. The Penn freestyle records are being rewritten by a swimmer who was second-team All-Ivy league in 2018-19 — as a male,” Outkick noted.
The teammate noted that after Thomas won, “Usually everyone claps, everyone is yelling and cheering when someone wins a race. Lia touched the wall and it was just silent in there. … When [Penn swimmer] Anna [Kalandadze] finished second, the crowd erupted in applause.”
The teammate pointed out regarding the NCAA, “While they say they care about all of us, our interests are in direct conflict with the interests of Lia in regards to fair competition and getting to compete. While we support Lia as a person to make decisions for her own life, you cannot make that decision and then come and impede on other people and their rights. … Your right doesn’t supersede everyone else’s right. … I know no matter what, biological women will never be on an equal playing field with transgender females.”
She continued, “Honestly, this is so upsetting to us because we want to be acknowledged for our hard work, but it seems like this just keeps overshadowing us. Put Lia out of the picture — we have a really good team this year. We have one of the best teams we’ve had in years, and that’s being overshadowed by [Lia]. … Even without Lia, we had the chance to win the Ivy League this year, which is a huge deal for us. We train every single day and give up so much for this sport. And I love swimming. I do it because I love it. It’s been a part of my life forever, and this is a slap in the face that the NCAA doesn’t care about the integrity of women’s sports.”
“This is such a cloud over everything. A cloud in the locker room, especially the last few days because we all know of how things have changed in the last week. Now they’re having to go behind the blocks knowing no matter what, they do not have the chance to win. I think that it’s really getting to everyone.”
Asked about the feeling after breaking the Penn women’s swimming records, Thomas did not mention the women who wound up lagging far behind, only saying, “I’m very proud of my times and my ability to keep swimming and continue competing and they’re suited-up times and I’m happy with them and my coaches are happy with them. That’s what matters to me.”