ATLANTA — A biologically male swimmer is slated to win the NCAA women’s 500 yard freestyle race by almost three seconds.
Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a 22-year-old fifth-year student at the University of Pennsylvania, competed in preliminary races Thursday morning at the 2022 NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships in Atlanta, Georgia.
Heat sheets show that Thomas finished the preliminary 500-yard freestyle in 4 minutes, 33 seconds, and 82 milliseconds. Erica Sullivan, a freshman from Texas State, finished second at 4 minutes 36 seconds and 79 milliseconds.
The swimmers will compete Thursday evening in the 500 freestyle finals.
One of Thomas’s teammates, who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity, told the publication that Thomas’s participation in women’s sports 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.
In a March interview with Sports Illustrated, Thomas expressed the desire to “show trans kids and younger trans athletes that they’re not alone,” adding, “They don’t have to choose between who they are and the sport they love.”
Thomas won several women’s titles at the Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships in February, setting a record in both the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.
The transgender swimmer is favored to win both the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events at the NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championships, which began Wednesday.
Sports Illustrated reports that Thomas is on course to be 7-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky’s “teammate at the 2024 Games in Paris — and perhaps challenge Ledecky’s Olympic records.”
Eleven states have recently enacted legislation banning biological males from competing in women’s sports, and at least 29 states have made moves to craft or pass legislation banning biological males from women’s sports, according to data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Other Republican-backed legislation bans minors from obtaining transgender surgeries and hormones — medical interventions that advocates and many in the legacy media frame as “gender-affirming medical care.”
During the State of the Union address, President Joe Biden urged lawmakers to enact the radically progressive Equality Act, criticizing the “onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families.”
“As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your president so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential,” Biden added.