Trans athlete Lia Thomas

Parents of the UPenn women’s swim team demand that NCAA amend rules that allow transgender swimmer Lia Thomas compete reports that parents of University of Pennsylvania women’s swimmers are asking for the NCAA to change the rules that allow Lia Thomas to be transgender and dominate the competition.

Last week, the parents of 10 swimmers wrote an open letter to NCAA officials.

They wrote that the integrity and success of women’s sport was at stake in the exclusive letter. ‘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. How do you define the limits? What does this mean for the NCAA’s promise to provide a fair environment for student athletes?

The parents say that the NCAA must address this matter by issuing an official statement. As the governing body it would be unfair and irresponsible for Lia and her teammates to take on the burden. It is also unfair to Lia that the media dictates the story without participation from the NCAA.

The NCAA has not yet responded to the December 5, 2005, letter.

One parent, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions for herself and her daughter, told, ‘The swimmers have mixed feelings. Although many of the swimmers want to be heard, they are reluctant because they fear being excluded.

“Everybody is afraid,” the mother added. “Parents also fear that their children will be hurt. This school costs $80,000. They will experience a change in their life. 

In a letter to, the parents stated that “at stake here is integrity of women’s sports.”

Parents received a short response from the university. It stated that the school was doing all it could to support Lia’s success and shared a link to mental healthcare services.

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, and she also set new school records (including two Ivy League records). On December 3, she set the freestyle record of 500 yards.

When Thomas became the clear winner, parents from around 10 swimmers came together to form a group.

An anonymous female UPenn swimmer said she and other teammates have discussed their frustration with Thomas'  place on their team with coach Mike Schnur (pictured) but said he 'just likes winning'

An anonymous female UPenn swimmer said she and other teammates have discussed their frustration with Thomas’  place on their team with coach Mike Schnur (pictured) but said he ‘just likes winning’ 

According to, one mother said Wednesday that while transgender individuals have a right of competition, they also need their own league. It’s wrong to be fair to all people, but it shouldn’t mean that you have to give up rights for another group. This is what’s going on here.

“The NCAA clearly didn’t care about the rules that they established,” she said. It’s unfair to both the women of the team as it is to Lia. Her bravery and perseverance through the transition was admirable. She sets records now, but they aren’t valued records. They are female records. was informed Tuesday night by the father of another swimmer in the team that their parent group is “consulting with people who understand these issues and will issue a statement soon.”

The parents received the letters last week but didn’t plan to make them public until they had passed the midterm exams.  

According to one mother, “Our swimmers have already been affected by this situation.” “My daughter has trouble focusing. The swimmers are being given a break. We have interims. 

She continued, “But I am a fighter by my nature and it is uncomfortable for me to be silent.” It is impossible to make any changes if everyone remains silent. This is allowing the girls to have their midterms. Then, we have to get on the record as quickly as possible. has reached out to  the NCAA and UPenn for comment. 

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

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

Thomas, pictured here in 2016 and 2017 respectively, was an outstanding swimmer at high school. 

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

Recently, the UPenn Swim Team posted about Lia’s 500m Freestyle record (pictured).

Fellow University of Pennsylvania swimmer Anna Sofia Kalandaze

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

Anna Sofia Kalandaze (University of Pennsylvania) finished 38 seconds behind Thomas in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

Parents received a short response from the university. It stated that the school was doing all it could to support Lia’s success and shared a link with mental health services. 

The university said, “Please know that all our swimming student athletes are supported and we want to support our community’s navigation of Lia’s success this winter in the pool,” “Penn Athletics is dedicated to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for our student-athletes as well as coaches and staff. We will keep that promise today and into the future.

What Lia Thomas’ times compare to her record as a NCAA female swimmer and male swimmer at UPenn?


Free 200m


Free 500m


1650m No cost



Free 200m


Free 500m


1650m free



Free 200m


Free 500m


1650m free


Olympic gold medalists hold the NCAA records in these events for women. Missy Franklin is currently holding the record for 200 free at 1:39.10. Katie Ledecky broke the record for 500 free at 4:00:06, and 1,650 free at 15:03.31.  

Thomas said her pre-transition times are not an accurate gage for her ‘current ability’ but admitted that she did not train as often or as hard in her year off as she did when competing on the men’s team. 

The school provided parents with links to the Center for Student Success, Counseling and Psychological Services, Restorative Practices, LGBT Center and Center for Student-Athlete Success. 

Thomas set two new national records earlier this month when she participated in the Zippy Invitational’s female races. By 38 seconds, she beat Anna Sofia Kalandadze, her teammate. Her entry will automatically be made to the Atlanta national championship meet, March 2022.

Two Thomas’ female UPenn teammates anonymously discussed their disappointment at having a transgender colleague, despite everyone being’strongly advised not’ to.

OutKick reported that one swimmer said that UPenn swimmers were distraught and crying knowing their times would be obliterated.

She said that everyone cheers and claps when someone wins. Lia reached for the wall, and everything was quiet. After Anna Kalandadze (a Penn swimmer) finished second, cheers erupted from the crowd.

Thomas was heard bragging about the race to his teammate, before adding that it was easy. The country’s No. 1.’s mother spoke out to say that her daughter shared an account similar to hers.

“My daughter called me hilariously right after the meet,” the mom remembered. “Everything the swimmer said during interview, my daughter spoke directly to me after the meet. Lia said exactly the same thing about Lia: “I was just going along.” Although I didn’t do it as well, I am still the number one.’s mother said that the swimmers had been upset by her arrogance, her behaviour, and not her gender. This was not team spirit. My daughter said that Lia received lots of understanding from her teammates and that this behaviour rubbed them wrong.

However, the parents that came together stated their concern is not with Lia nor the school. Thomas can compete in the women’s soccer team because of the rules. 

Thomas previously competed on the UPenn men's swim team for three years as Will before transitioning. Will's times are seconds away from shattering women's world records

Thomas was previously a member of the UPenn men’s swimming team and competed for three years before transitioning. Will is only seconds from breaking the women’s world record for swimming times 

Thomas was previously a member of the UPenn men’s swimming team for three seasons before he transitioned and underwent hormone treatment for almost two-and-a half years.

After undergoing a year-long hormone treatment, Thomas was allowed to move to the women’s sideline. This is in compliance with NCAA regulations.

OutKick received an anonymous statement from a female swimmer from UPenn stating that Mike Schnur is allowing a transgender competitor to fill a spot for a woman because he just really loves winning.

Thomas details Schnur’s support in her transition, and her switch to the woman’s team. She calls him one of her biggest supporters and allies since day one.

Thomas also mentioned her fellow teammates as an ongoing support system throughout her transition and all the national criticism she’s faced.

OutKick received an anonymous statement from the first female swimmer, who stated that she believes support was fake.

“When we are all together, it’s like saying, “Oh my goodness, Lia! That’s awesome, you’re incredible!” She said it was very fake.

The Ivy League isn’t a competitive swimming league, which makes it absurd to think that an NCAA champ could come from the Ivy League. It’s not common for an Ivy League swimmer to do that,’ explained the swimmer.

Thomas’ wins as a woman’s champion and inclusion on the team for women are just a few of the many controversy surrounding Thomas.

A number of states have passed bills that outlaw transgender competitors from participating on teams that are aligned to their gender. However, athletes must compete against athletes who identify as their biological sex.