The Most Controversial Female Swimmer


Reese James Peterson, Staff Writer

Lia Thomas is on the University of Pennsylvania swim team and she has been dealing with a lot of backlash she is a transgender woman.

She was born in Austin, Texas and there she attended Westlake High School where she placed sixth in state. After she graduated from high school Lia chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania. After her first year of college in the summer of 2018 she came out as transgender.

At Penn she originally started her swim career there on the mens swimming team. Her event of choice is the freestyle where in 2017 she clocked in a 1,00o yard freestyle time of  eight minutes and 57.55 seconds. That time made her the sixth fastest national mens time. She also placed in the national top 100  in the 500 yard freestyle and the 1,650 yard freestyle.

During the 2018-2019 swim season Lia finished second in the men’s 500, 1000 and 1650 yard freestyle in the Ivy League Championship as a sophomore. Then in May of 2019 she begun to undergo hormone replacement therapy to begin her transition. After coming out to her coaches and teammates she was required to swim for the men’s swim team at Penn for the 2019-2020 season.

After hormone replacement therapy Lia has lost muscle mass due to testosterone suppression. Due to this her 500 freestyle time is over 15 seconds slower than before going through hormone therapy.

A group of Thomas’ Penn teammates that have not been named have been quoted saying, “We fully support Lia Thomas in her decision to affirm her gender identity and to transition from a man to a woman. Lia has every right to live her life authentically. However, we also recognize that when it comes to sports competition, that the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity.”

This is where the sports world lies with it’s opinion on Lia Thomas. They have no place to dictate the personal decisions of Lia Thomas but understand the possible advantages of being born a man and the competing against lifelong women.