Lia Thomas, 22, (pictured after transitioning) is now dominating women's college swimming records

After transitioning, Lia Thomas (22 years old) now holds the record for women’s college swimming.

A video posted online captures the moment that a University of Pennsylvania senior and transgender swimmer broke two US records during a weekend event. This led to new allegations of unfairness.

Lia Thomas (22 years old) performed an amazing performance on Sunday at the Zippy Invitational Event Akron Ohio. On Sunday she completed the 1,650-yard freestyle with 38 seconds more than Anna Sofia Kalandaze. 

Thomas was victorious in 15:59.71. Anna Kalandaze (UPenn) came in second place with a time 16:37.44. 

Thomas won a record-breaking win at the Zippy Meet and in the pool that hosted the event. 

Thomas starts the meet a full length ahead her nearest competitor. She eventually becomes half a lap ahead of her closest opponent and nearly complete laps ahead.

She finished laps faster than her rivals, and won the race at 15:59.71.

Thomas broke it as the third time he was able beat the record at the Zippy Invitational this weekend. 

Thomas set the US record for 500-yard freestyle in 4:34.06. Kalandaze was 38 seconds behind her on Sunday. She won the 500-yard freestyle by 14 seconds.

She won the 200 yard freestyle on Saturday in 1:41.93. That’s seven seconds quicker than her nearest competitor. It was also the fastest ever female US time for this race.  

Thomas was previously known as Will and has only competed in the swim meets this season. Thomas, who was formerly Will, competed for two seasons on the men’s team.

Some critics have raised concerns about her success. Male-born babies tend to be stronger than females.

According to NCAA regulations, any transgender female athlete can take part in women’s events if they have completed a year of testosterone suppression treatment.

Video from the Zippy Invitational on Sunday showed Lia Thomas, 22, beating out her nearest opponents, and consistently staying ahead of them at the women's 1,650 yard freestyle

On Sunday, Lia Thomas (22), beat her closest competitors and remained ahead at the 1,650-yard freestyle for women.

Thomas has won 3 events and established three new school records. This includes 2 Ivy League records.

Thomas won the 500 yard freestyle on Friday in 4:34. New records were set by Akron pool, Penn school, and Ivy League records. 

She won Saturday’s 200-free with a pool meet, program and record time of 1:41.93. That is 7 seconds ahead of the second place finish.  

Thomas will also be eligible to participate in The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA), national championship meet at Atlanta in March. 

Thomas also took part in a 200 freestyle relay, 400 medley relay coming fourth  and 50-yard freestyle sprint in which she came sixth.  

This weekend, Lia Thomas won three events and set three new school records including two new Ivy League records. She is pictured setting the record at the 500 yard freestyle on December 3

Lia Thomas was victorious in three events this weekend and she also set three school records, including two Ivy League records. Pictured here, she is setting the record for the 500-yard freestyle in December 3.

At one point during the race, she was able to get half a lap ahead of her nearest opponent, eventually edging them out by nearly a full lap at the invitational

She was able at one stage to move half a lap faster than her closest opponent. This allowed her to eventually win the invitational by almost a lap.

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. 

Thomas won the 1,650 freestyle in a record time of 15:59.71 beating her closest rival Anna Sofia Kalandaze, pictured above, by 38 seconds

Thomas beat Anna Sofia Kalandaze by 38 seconds to win the 1,650 freestyle.

Thomas managed to win three events and set three new school records and some Ivy League records over the weekend

Thomas won three of the three events, and also set some new Ivy League and school records during this weekend.

Thomas’s record breaking performance in women’s events has sparked controversy amid the debate surrounding transgender athletes. 

Thomas transitioned at a time that is still unknown, although NCAA rules stipulate she must have undergone one year testosterone suppression treatment to qualify for the NCAA. 

Critics argue that trans women athletes have some advantages over their cisgender male counterparts due to the height and weight advantage they could still retain after hormone treatment. 

Thomas was last seen at a men’s event on November 16, 2019. 

Thomas stated that she was grateful to be allowed to continue swimming earlier this year.

‘The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid,’ she told Penn Today in June. This was the moment that made me question my trans identity. Did I intend to swim on? How did it look? 

Thomas’ involvement has drew criticisms on social media.

Jessica Cole stated that this should be a wake-up call for anyone who supports women in sports.

Claude Gregory said that the disgrace was for all hard-working female swimmers.  

The senior swam in the 500m and 200m freestyles at a Tri-meet held with Cornell and Princeton on November 20. Her times beat nearly every female American swimmer.

Thomas’s time of 1:43.47 in 200m freestyle is good enough to earn her a silver medal at NCAA Women’s Championships. Her 4:35.06 in 500m freestyle will be sufficient to claim bronze. 

PennAthletics declares:’Because of her strong swims in the 200 and 500 free this weekend, she will have a chance to become the first transgender student-athlete to be a Division I All-American, or even national champion.’ 

Thomas was the first trans woman to swim in NCAA women’s pool since Natalie Fahey (from Illinois) took part in the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference swimming champions. 

Thomas’ participation in this sport is the latest in a series of controversy surrounding trans athletes competing alongside those of their gender. There has also been debate about whether or not it would be fair to trans women athletes against female cis competitors. 

UPenn swim team recently posted about one of Lia's records in the 500m freestyle (pictured)

The UPenn swimming team posted recently about Lia’s record in 500m freestyle (pictured).

Will Thomas pictured swimming on the UPenn 2018-19 men's team

Will Thomas pictured on the UPenn 2018-19 Men’s Swimming Team

The tall athlete towers over her teammate Hannah Liu (left) as the pair pose together

Hannah Liu, left, the taller athlete is seen towering over Hannah Liu as they pose together 

Women’s sport has seen controversy with transgender athletes

Transgender women are causing a lot of controversy about participation in women’s sports. 

In June, transgender hurdler CeCe Telfer was barred from competing in the US Olympic trials after she failed to prove she could meet the testosterone requirements at the time.

World Athletics set the 2019 testosterone threshold of 5 nmol/L for women who wish to participate in the US Olympic Team’s female races. This level is the most a woman born in a male-dominated country. 

Telfer's manager, David McFarland, said Telfer would respect the decision

Transgender runner CeCe Telfer

As an alternative, Chelsea Wolfe (BMX rider) traveled to Tokyo for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

She is the transgender Olympian of Team USA. She was not able to compete at the Olympics. 

Chelsea Wolfe BMX biker

Chelsea Wolfe BMX biker 

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard declared in August she would be retiring after her appearance at the Tokyo Olympics. She failed to lift a single lift.

After transitioning in 2012 at the age of 43, she competed for New Zealand in women’s 87kg+ but was eliminated. She is the first transgender woman to ever compete in an individual event. But She did not record any valid snatchlift in Tokyo. 

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard 

In June to Penn Today, the university’s newspaper, about her ability to continue competing as a trans athlete, Thomas said: ‘Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport and being able to continue is very rewarding.’  

Thomas was co-chairman of Penn Non-Cis, a club for transgenders and other non-cisgender people. He also stated that swimming is an important part of his life.

“I have been swimming ever since I was 5 years old. It was difficult to come out and continue swimming in an area where there is usually a lot of stability. That was the moment I discovered that I was trans. Did I intend to swim on? How did it look?

Also, she said that feeling alone is one of her biggest concerns. Even if you don’t pay attention to the news … [about]It can be very overwhelming and lonely for states to propose and pass anti-trans legislation. 

Lia’s successes have reignited debate as she was key to her team’s success at the 400m relay and won the 500m freestyle individual races. 

Thomas’ recent victory in the women’s event has angered many. 

Linda Blade, a sport performance coach, responded to Thomas’ latest event with the following statement: “Well of course women’s records are being broken!” For the first three years of #NCAA, Lia was a male competitor. It isn’t right! 

“We must return to #SexBasedSports!” #SexNotGender will ensure that female athletes are treated fairly.

One participant said, “How many people participated in this swim meet without any of them standing up and saying this is wrong?”  

One third of the participants said that Lia Thomas was swimming against women, while another agreed.

Another user was outraged that his daughters, who swim competitively, have ‘worked their a**es off’ to get where they are for Thomas to dominate the sport. 

“My daughters are competitive swimmers. They train almost every day, and they practice between 3-4 times per week. Some of them, like many other girls, work for decades. I am disgusted by this kind of crap. It isn’t progress. 

Pennsylvania user also agreed and commented, “I stand with you sir and your girls!” It’s absurd on so many levels. “Lia Thomas” has even the gut to admit that this competition has so far been extremely rewarding. Yeah I bet! You’re competing against women because you’re male! Is this allowed? 

Some others played with the swimmer’s name, saying that she should “add the r”, while others refused the reference to Thomas as a woman. 

“He changed his name to Lia Thomas from Will. One said that he forgot to include the “r” at the end of his new title.  

Another writer wrote that Lia Thomas, a man named Lia Thomas broke college records. 

Another said, “Imagine the women second in line knowing they won’t have the same physical advantage as the man who beats them.” 

The criticisms were not all negative. Kirsti Miller (sport inclusion educator) shared some of the women’s swimming records with Thomas and compared them to Thomas.

Thomas’s absence in the record books meant she wasn’t ‘dominating women’s swimming, according to her. 

Lia Thomas is pictured as Will, before she transitioned

Lia Thomas, as Will before she passed away

Previously, Thomas (pictured as Will, before transitioning) competed for UPenn's men's swimming team for three years before having a year off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her last event for the men's team was on November 16, 2019

Thomas was previously Will (pictured here before transitioning). Thomas competed as Will for the men’s UPenn swimming team for three seasons before being forced off by COVID-19. The men’s last event she participated in was November 16, 2019.

Lia Thomas' success has sparked outrage amid controversy over transgender athletes competing in sports alongside other competitors opposite of the gender they were assigned at birth, with many claiming a 'man' broke her recent women's records. Pictured: Lia in 2020

The success of Lia Thomas has caused outrage in the wake of controversy surrounding transgender athletes participating in sports with other genders than those they were given at birth. Many claim that a “man” broke Lia’s recent female records. Lia, 2020

Emma McGee was a former swimmer coach and she supported Lia. She said: “Since nobody else is saying it, congrats to them!”    

Thomas was previously a member of the university’s male swimming team. He competed for three consecutive years and then had to retire due to COVID-19.  

These rules say that a male-transgender student-athlete receiving testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder, gender dysphoria or Transsexualism can continue to compete for a team of men but not for a team of women until the completion of one calendar year. 


A number of people voiced their anger at Thomas being allowed to compete in women's swimming competitions

Thomas’s permission to swim in the Women’s Swimming Competitions was criticized by many.

These guidelines state that a trans female student-athlete (MTF), transgender, who has not been prescribed hormones related to gender transition, may not be allowed to compete in a team of women.

Additionally, any sports team which has had a transgender member on its team for less than one year will be considered a mixed team. 

Olympic officials had also revealed earlier in the year that they would be changing rules allowing transgender athletes into women’s competitions. 

Officials state that 2015’s guidelines were not appropriate for their purpose. They should be revised to reflect the latest science and testing developments. 

One of the possible outcomes is a push for each sport to set their own rules in an effort to break away from the current “one-size fits all” approach.

And according to The Guardian, the new guidelines will suggest that trans women should no longer be required to reduce their testosterone levels to compete. 

Though the bitter response to Thomas' recent success wasn't universal, with some congratulating the student athlete, and one person even pointing out how her results proved she wasn't 'dominating' the sport

Thomas’ recent successes didn’t draw a harsh response from everyone. There were some who congratulated Thomas and others that pointed out her lack of dominance in the sport.

Thomas (pictured recently) is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania

Thomas, pictured here recently, is a Senior at The University of Pennsylvania 

Thomas (pictured first row, right in 2020) said it's rewarding to be able to continue the sport

Thomas (pictured right in 2020, first row) stated that it was rewarding to continue this sport. 

And in a reversal of the IOC’s previous stance, the new guidelines, set to be rolled out after the Beijing Winter Olympics, say that there should be no presumption that trans women have an automatic advantage over other women.

The IOC, however, will allow individual sporting organizations to establish their rules regarding trans athletes. 

Trans athletes are controversial. CeCe Telfer from the United States was one of those who were barred from participating in US Olympic trials because she didn’t prove that she had the testosterone requirement.

World Athletics set the 2019 testosterone threshold of 5 nmol/L for women who wish to participate in the US Olympic Team’s female races. This level is the most a woman born in a male-dominated country. 

Chelsea Wolfe (BMX rider) traveled as an alternate to Tokyo 2021 Summer Games and was the first transgender Olympian for Team USA.

New Zealand’s weightlifter Laurel Hubbard made history when she became the first transgender competitor at the Games.

The New Zealander’s Olympic debut, which was the subject of much controversy prior to the Games, did not prove fruitful.

Hubbard (43), who was transitioning in 2012, fell out of the +87kg weightlifting competition for women (+190lb) without having registered a successful “snatch” lift. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to change its guidelines on trans athletes to say that trans women should no longer be required to reduce their testosterone levels to compete

International Olympic Committee (IOC), will change its guidelines regarding trans athletes. It is now stating that trans women shouldn’t have to decrease their testosterone levels in order to compete.

In the meantime, certain states in the U.S. have placed restrictions on transgender students participating in school-based sports. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an October bill banning athletes from participating in sports with the same gender they identify. It also mandates that they compete according to the information on their birth certificates.

Texas signed the legislation on October 25 and became the sixth such state. Its proponents claimed that the bill, HB-25, would ‘protect girls’. Critics, however, have branded the measure a cruel’ and â€TMdiscriminatory’ measure, which further’stigmatizes’ trans-athletes.

This bill becomes law January 1, and overrides an earlier provision in state law which allowed trans students to obtain a court order allowing them to identify as their gender using an amended birth record.

According to the University Interscholastic League guidelines, Texas’ trans athletes were not allowed to compete in state sports competitions.

This new law passed the House of Representatives 76-61, and the Senate 19-12. Before reaching Abbott, Abbott refused to comment publicly on it while signing it.

And in June this year, Florida’s Republican governor signed a bill barring transgender females from playing on public school teams intended for student athletes born as girls, plunging the state into the national culture war over transgender rights.

“In Florida, boys will play boys sports and girls are going play girls sports,” Governor Ron DeSantis stated as he signed into law the bill at Jacksonville’s Christian school. “We are going to ensure that this is the reality.”

The law, sure to face court challenges, inflames an already contentious discussion unfolding nationally as Republican-controlled states move to limit the rights of LGBTQ people. Florida could also be subject to severe financial penalties.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill earlier this year barring transgender females from playing on Florida public school teams intended for student athletes born as girls

Transgender athletes in Texas must compete as their assigned sex at birth according to a law Governor Greg Abbott (pictured) signed in October

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left)  signed a bill earlier this year barring transgender females from playing on Florida public school teams intended for student athletes born as girls, and transgender athletes in Texas must compete as their assigned sex at birth according to a law Governor Greg Abbott (right) signed in October

How do you interpret the rules? 

According to the NCAA Policy on Transgender Student-Athlete Participation, a trans female must have undergone at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment before being eligible to compete on a women’s team.

According to the rules, a trans male (MTF), student-athlete who has been treated for testosterone suppression for Gender Identity Disorder/Gender Dysphoria/or Transsexualism may compete in NCAA competition but cannot compete on a female team. However, a woman’s team may be changed to mixed status without changing its gender until they have completed one year of testosterone suppression.

These guidelines state that a trans female student-athlete (MTF), transgender, who has not been prescribed hormones related to gender transition, may not be allowed to compete in a team of women.

A sports team that has included a transgender woman has been automatically classified as a mixed-team for the rest of the academic year.

Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi have passed similar legislation. West Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Montana all adopted them. South Dakota’s governor signed an executive order in support of a ban on sports. All of them have Republican governors.

Advocates of sports bills argue they are essential to ensure fairness.

DeSantis, a teenager athlete and his entourage signed the bill. DeSantis stated that the bill was necessary to guarantee fairness in sport participation for all women throughout the state.

He said, “We’re going to choose biology over ideology for sports”

An advocacy group called the Human Rights Campaign and stated that it will challenge Florida’s law as it was based upon a false, discriminatory basis, which threatened transgender children’s wellbeing.

“Transgender children and girls are both kids. Transgender girls are also girls.” They, like all children, deserve to be allowed to participate in sports and join a team. Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David stated this in a statement.

Caitlyn, an Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner said that trans women should not be allowed to compete in male sports.

Jenner, one of the most accomplished athletes from the US in decathlon in the 1970s, won gold in Montreal Olympics in 1976 and was an American Olympic champion in 1975. Jenner also announced she was transgender back in 2015.

Jenner answered a question about trans women participating in sports alongside other women and said that it was a matter of fairness. Jenner stated that she opposes biological trans boys participating in girl’s sports at school. This is unfair. It is essential that we protect and promote girls’ participation in sports at schools. 

A poll earlier in the year found that only 33% of Americans think trans athletes should have the right to participate on teams that do not match their sex.

Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey — conducted May 3 – 18 by telephone interviews with 1,016 randomly selected adults living in the US — showed that 62 percent said transgender athletes should only be allowed to play on sports teams that correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Only 34% of respondents said that they should be allowed on teams matching their gender identity.

Gallup researchers stated that sports policies regarding transgender athletes were a relatively new issue for Americans. Their opinions have also changed in the past, sometimes in large ways.

“Sizable Majorities of Americans support transgender military service. However, this measure on sports policy suggests they don’t see the two issues as one.