Lia Thomas on Thursday night became the first transgender athlete to be crowned National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion, winning the 500 yard freestyle in Georgia – to a silent crowd. 

Thomas, 22, scorched her competitors in Atlanta with a 4 minutes 33:24 second race – much to the chagrin of some of her teammates, and to those in the stands, who remained silent as she won. 

Thomas, who was asked about his response by ESPN after the race said that he tried to ignore the situation as best as he could. He focused on swimming, what I needed to do, and tried to keep everything else out of my mind.  

“It’s a great feeling to be together with my two best friends and colleagues and to be able compete. 

Thomas beat fellow swimmers in the Ivy League Championships last month. 

After three years of swimming on the University’s Men’s Team, the Texan transitioned in 2019. He is the first transgender person to be awarded a NCAA Championship title. Thomas said that Thomas would doubt it if he was successful. 

Lia Thomas, 22, is seen immediately after her historic victory - which was greeted with silence by the crowd

Lia Thomas (22 years old) is seen right after her historic win – which was met with silence from the crowd

The NCAA celebrated Thomas's victory on social media, crowning the new national champion

Thomas was crowned the national champion by the NCAA after Thomas won via social media.

Thomas is seen beaming after winning the heat of the 500 yard race

Thomas beams after winning heat in the 500-yard race

Lia Thomas is seen swimming for the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday, at the NCAA championships in Atlanta, Georgia. She has become the first transgender athlete to win a NCAA final

Lia Thomas was seen competing for Penn at Thursday’s NCAA Championships in Atlanta. It is her first win as a transgender swimmer in a NCAA final.

Thomas, 22, is seen ahead of her heat on Thursday, which she also won - making her top seed for the final

Thomas, 22 years old, is seen leading her heat. Thomas also won her heat. This made her the number one seed for Thursday’s final.

Martina Navratilova, who called for Thomas’s inclusion of an asterisk in her name after she won the women’s race, hours prior to Thomas’s historic achievement, arguing against racing against biological males as unfair.

Navratilova is widely considered one of the greatest tennis players in the world. Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle final at Georgia’s ships. She became the first transgender champion to the NCAA. 

Navratilova told News Nation on Thursday that the current rules, permitting Thomas to compete as a woman because she has completed the required year of testosterone-reduction treatment, were wrong.

According to the 65-yearold, it’s not about transgender women losing ever.

“But, it’s not about allowing them win when they weren’t anywhere close to winning like men.

Martina Navratilova on Thursday spoke out against Thomas being allowed to compete as an equal against women - hours before Thomas became the first transgender NCAA champion

Martina Navratilova spoke out on Thursday against Thomas being permitted to compete with women – hours before Thomas became first transgender NCAA Champion

Navratilova was one of the pioneering openly gay athleteswomen in the 70s and 80s. However, she said that Thomas’s position was incorrect.

She said, “You keep it as close to the original as you can, if it was born in the female biological organ in the first instance.”

“And people even say that they are against – biological male. These words are not even wanted by people.

I don’t know how to explain it. The rest is just that.

Navratilova recommended that transgender people be treated differently from women born to a female.

She said, “But for the moment, the solution is probably to swim in the lane. You can compete, but you don’t get the medal.”

“Because the rules don’t work.” The rules, however, are as they are right now.

You may add an “asterisk”

Navratilova stated that significant questions will be raised if Thomas continues to lead the sport at an age when she is nearing her peak.

Lia will be at the Olympics if she breaks records regularly,

She is in her prime physically.

“And perhaps in the future, there will be an open group for all and biological females.

Trans women may compete, but not against men.

“And trans men have a decision.”


In May 2019, Lia Thomas began hormone therapy even though she was still competing in male sports. 

USA Swimming regulations require that athletes have had low levels of testosterone over the past 36 months in order to be eligible to swim for women. 

Thomas was not eligible for the NCAA Championship, even if USA Swimming had followed their rules as originally stated.  

The NCAA stated that she could compete as they had refused to change the threshold for this year. 

The NCAA committee stated last month that implementing further changes could result in unfair and possibly harmful impacts for schools and student athletes who are preparing to participate in the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships. 

However, it is not clear what they’ll do next year.