Lia Thomas (transgender swimmer) and her UPenn team mates put aside all their differences during the week to train for their last home meet of season under a veil of secrecy.

Officials at the college hired security personnel and advised student athletes to remove their Quakers-inspired shirts and caps as they traveled to Stuart, Florida last week.

Although the winter practice sessions were uneventful, insiders claim that 41 people remain bitterly divided by Thomas’s shocking feats as an untransitioned woman.’s parent stated that while everyone attempts to live in harmony under difficult circumstances, this is not going away. It’s the calm before storm.

Smiling transgender swimmer Lia Thomas was seen training in Stuart, Florida, ahead of University of Pennsylvania women's swim team's final home meet of the season

Lia Thomas, a smiling transgender swimmer, was seen in Stuart, Florida before the University of Pennsylvania’s last home meet of season.

Thomas, 22, drew media attention earlier this season after smashing several records as a newly-transitioned woman on the team

Thomas (22 years old) caught media attention after breaking several records for a woman who had just been promoted to the ranks. 

Thomas and her teammates appeared to set their differences aside amid the uproar over her dominance as they practiced at the Olympic-sized pool at Sailfish Splash Waterpark. 'Everyone is doing their best to get along in difficult circumstances but this won't suddenly go away,' a parent told

Thomas was able to relax with her team despite the chaos caused by her dominance, as she practiced in the Olympic-sized swimming pool at Sailfish Splash Waterpark. parent said that everyone is trying their best in tough situations, but it won’t be easy.

Thomas walked into the outdoors venue in silence but looked relaxed and at ease with her teammates as they stood around the pool chatting and sharing a picnic in the bleachers

Thomas was silent as she entered the outdoor space. However, Thomas looked comfortable and at ease while they chatted and shared a picnic on the bleachers.

Thomas was identified as transgender by the NCAA in 2019. He is eligible, under NCAA rules, to change from the men’s to women’s teams after he had taken a year’s worth of testosterone suppressants.

The 22-year-old has outraged many of her teammates. Cynthia Millen, a veteran USA Swimming official, resigned because she felt it was inexcusable for ‘biological males’ to compete alongside women.

UPenn’s last home event for the season will be held behind closed doors. Last week college officials said that everyone but a small number of people were barred from the January 8th meet with Yale, Dartmouth and Yale due to Covid concerns. had revealed a day earlier that a number of Thomas’s teammates had considered boycotting the gala over her participation but were worried about being labeled transphobic and banned from the Ivy League championship in February.

A parent shared the following: “How convenient that these potential conflicts have now been avoided that they were now aware would occur,” reported.

“The parents got really excited for the final home meet and senior recognition. It was a great opportunity to support the team as well as the girls. This is no longer an option. 

The team is practicing at the municipal aquatic center which hosts NCAA training while the slides and attractions are closed to the public over the winter

Lia Thomas

The group is training at the local aquatic center that hosts NCAA Training. The slides and attractions remain closed to the public for the duration of the winter. 

Saturday's meet will be the first since Thomas blew away the competition and shattered two national women's records last month at the Zippy International in Akron, Ohio

Saturday’s meet is the first since Thomas won the contest and broke two records at national women’s events in Akron last month.

Thomas and her 41-strong team have also been assigned their own security detail amid the controversy and were told not to wear UPenn gear during their off-time in case they attract unwanted attention

Thomas and her 41-strong team have also been assigned their own security detail amid the controversy and were told not to wear UPenn gear during their off-time in case they attract unwanted attention

Thomas has brushed off the backlash despite setting three school records and two national records during her senior year

Thomas, despite having set three school records as well as two national records in her senior year, has managed to ignore the criticism

Thomas seemed to ignore the disagreement as her team was put through their paces in the Olympic-sized swimming pool at Sailfish Splash Waterpark. This municipal aquatic center hosts NCAA training, while slides and attractions remain closed for the public during the winter.

Security personnel escorted the athletes to their hotels, while a female guard watched over them during the two-day sessions. 

Thomas was seen in complete silence walking to the outside venue. However, she seemed relaxed with her colleagues as they chatted and shared a picnic lunch in the bleachers. 

“Lia is a long-standing training partner for the team. It’s a great thing to have someone fast to train with; it pushes them,” said a parent.

“It has been a pleasant distraction for the girls. No incidents have occurred. This just proves that this atmosphere isn’t transphobic. Never was.

“But we don’t give out prizes or rewards in training. This is the same issue we’ve been dealing, which concerns fairness.  

Concerned parents also advised their students to not wear UPenn gear while on-duty. They could attract unwanted attention. 

In an earlier interview, Thomas responded to the furor telling news site SwimSwam: 'It's not healthy for me to read it and engage with it at all, and so I don't, and that's all I'll say on that'

Thomas said in an interview that he had previously responded to the controversy, telling SwimSwam that it was not healthy for him to engage with it. 

UPenn's final event of the season with Dartmouth and Yale will take place behind closed doors on January 8 after college officials cited Covid concerns

Following concerns over Covid by college officials, UPenn’s last event for the season will be held behind closed doors January 8, with Yale and Dartmouth. saw Thomas and a few other athletes wearing UPenn T-shirts for training. But, the majority of those who returned home changed into the Quakers’ distinctive blue and red gear. 

One parent shared that he was concerned by an incident. He asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisals.

“My daughter won’t be wearing the Penn uniform because she doesn’t want to be harassed about it,” reported that swimmers were informed by a parent that security personnel would accompany them to training trips in the event of an emergency.

“The Penn controversy caused Penn clothing to be banned from girls’ wardrobes. It’s insane. This is why they chose to go to school: to be proud to represent UPenn.

“Once again, this team must make an agreement with the NCAA because they failed to adequately address it.”

The UPenn athletes were escorted to and from their hotel by a two-car security detail

Two-car security personnel accompanied the UPenn athletics to their hotel.

A handful of athletes, including Thomas, wore UPenn t-shirts to training, but the majority changed out of their distinctive red and blue Quakers gear soon after

Thomas was one of the few athletes who wore UPenn T-shirts for training. However, most of them changed to their Quakers red and blue gear shortly afterward.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, told that the girls 'were given special instructions to avoid wearing Penn attire because of the controversy' was told by a parent that their daughters were given specific instructions about not wearing Penn clothes because of the scandal.

Critics have railed against Thomas's participation as a 'biological male' competing against women

Thomas’s involvement as a biological male competing against women was criticized by critics

Lia competed on the UPenn men's swim team for three years as Will Thomas before transitioning

Before transitioning, Lia was a member of the UPenn men’s swimming team. She competed for three years under Will Thomas. 

This meet will be the first since Thomas won the contest and broke two records at national women’s events in Akron last month, Ohio.

So dominant was she in the 1,650 yard freestyle that Anna Kalandadze finished 38 seconds behind Anna Kalandadze of UPenn.

Thomas was a transgender swimmer who swam three years for UPenn’s male team before she came out. The 2020-21 season was cancelled because of the pandemic. As recently as November 2019, she competed in the men’s event.

Thomas joined the women’s team in her senior year after following the NCAA’s Policy on Transgender Student Athlete Participation. This policy allows anyone born to a male to compete as a female after having completed ‘one calendar year of testosterone suppression treatment.

Thomas, despite setting three school and two national records for swimming, shrugged off the controversy in an interview with SwimSwam. He said that it was not healthy to engage with this information and read it. That’s all that I will say about it.

Thomas’s post-transition accomplishments were not accepted by Thomas’s teammates. However, two swimmers anonymously complained to media about an ‘absence of fairness’. 

Thomas came out as transgender in 2019 and under NCAA rules was eligible to switch from the men's team to the women's after taking a year of testosterone suppressants

Thomas became transgender in 2019, and was allowed to move from the men’s team to join the women’s under NCAA rules. He had taken testosterone suppressants for a year.

Thomas (pictured in 2016) was a star swimmer in high school

Thomas (pictured in 2017) was a star swimmer in high school

Thomas was the star high school swimmer (pictured 2016 and 2017. 

UPenn women's swimmers and divers relax at the beach in January 2020. Lia Thomas is circled

In January 2020, UPenn’s women divers and swimmers relax on the beach. Lia Thomas is circled

They are forced to work behind the scenes, knowing they will never win. OutKick spoke to one of the participants.

What Lia Thomas’s record compares to her time as a man swimmer at UPenn.


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Olympic gold medalists currently hold the NCAA Women’s Records for these events. Missy Franklin currently holds the record at 1:39.10. Katie Ledecky established the records at 4:14:06 for the 500-Free and at 15:03,31 for the 1,650-Free.  

Thomas admitted her pretransition times were not an accurate indicator of her “current ability”, but also acknowledged that she was not as active or hard-working in her year off from competing on the men’s team. found out that Thomas is being pursued by 10 parents. 

They wrote that “the integrity of women’s sports is at stake,” in a letter they sent to NCAA officials and was forwarded to Penn and the Ivy League.

‘The precedent being set – one in which women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete – is a direct threat to female athletes in every sport. Where are the limits?

“How does this align with the NCAA’s commitment to creating a fair environment in which student-athletes can compete?”

A few weeks later, Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead Makar stated in a column that biological women should not be allowed to challenge Thomas.

She compared it to racing against doped up East Germans.

She wrote that trans women can compete with biological females, provided they are able to show they have lost the sex-linked male-puberty advantage before they enter the women’s competition.

That demonstration is impossible for Lia Thomas. She is still able to compete with unfair advantages despite her apparently adhering to NCAA regulations requiring hormone therapy for more than two-and-a-half-years now.

Others sports stars followed the example of Hogshead Makar and supported his argument that rules must be altered.

Martina Navratilova (tennis great) retweeted and said, “A fair and well-reasoned take on trans woman inclusion in women’s sports.”

Chris Evert was her ex-contestant and retweeted Navratilova’s message with the caption I second that.

Evert added that “Science has proven from the onset male puberty, principally because of high testosterone levels,” male bodies are stronger and faster than those of females.

Although the NCAA did not respond to the letter from parents, the university replied with a concise response. The school claimed it was trying to assist student-athletes in Lia’s success by sharing a link for mental health services.