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Second Competitor Speaks Out About Trans Swimmer Competing And Breaking US Records

Dominic Smithers

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Second Competitor Speaks Out About Trans Swimmer Competing And Breaking US Records

Featured Image Credit: SwimSwam

A second competitor has spoken out in opposition to their transgender teammate competing in the women's team.

University of Pennsylvania trans swimmer Lia Thomas blew the opposition out of the water at the Zippy Invitational Event in Akron, Ohio, last week.

She finished an incredible 38 seconds ahead of her teammate in the 1,650 yard freestyle event.

Thomas also impressed in the 500 yard freestyle race, taking the win by 14 seconds and breaking the US women's record with a time of 4:34:06.

And the athlete made it a hat-trick, claiming gold in the 200-yard freestyle, with a time of 1:41:93, which was seven seconds ahead of her nearest rival and another US women's record.

However, following her feats, critics have said they do not believe it is fair for her to compete in the division.

An anonymous swimmer from UPenn told Outkick that she and Thomas' fellow teammates were upset by her performance.

They said: "They feel so discouraged because no matter how much work they put in it, they're going to lose.

"Usually, they can get behind the blocks and know they out-trained all their competitors and they're going to win and give it all they've got

"Now they're having to go behind the blocks knowing no matter what, they do not have the chance to win.

"I think that it's really getting to everyone.

Lia Thomas. Credit: University of Pennsylvania
Lia Thomas. Credit: University of Pennsylvania

"Usually everyone claps, everyone is yelling and cheering when someone wins a race. Lia touched the wall and it was just silent in there.

"When [fellow Penn swimmer] Anna [Kalandadze] finished second, the crowd erupted in applause."

Until her transition in 2019, Thomas had competed in the men's division.

She has since been been undergoing hormone replacement therapy, which allows her to compete against other women.

According to the anonymous source, Thomas was heard bragging at the recent event, saying it was 'so easy' and that she was 'number one', having 'cruised' to victory.

The swimmer told the outlet: "Well, obviously she's number one in the country because she's at a clear physical advantage after having gone through male puberty and getting to train with testosterone for years.

"Of course you're No. 1 in the country when you're beating a bunch of females. That's not something to brag about.

"Honestly, this is so upsetting to us because we want to be acknowledged for our hard work, but it seems like this just keeps overshadowing us.

"Put Lia out of the picture - we have a really good team this year. We have one of the best teams we've had in years, and that's being overshadowed by [Lia].

"Even without Lia, we had the chance to win the Ivy League this year, which is a huge deal for us. We train every single day and give up so much for this sport. And I love swimming. I do it because I love it.

"It's been a part of my life forever, and this is a slap in the face that the NCAA doesn't care about the integrity of women's sports."

And there are concerns that if Thomas is able to reach the times she did prior to transitioning, she will no doubt break world records in the female division.

Speaking previously, another fellow teammate of Thomas' said that if she matches her times prior to transitioning, she could set female world records.

Thomas smashed several records during a recent tournament. Credit: UPenn Swimming and Diving
Thomas smashed several records during a recent tournament. Credit: UPenn Swimming and Diving

Speaking about the backlash she has received following her victories at the tournament, Thomas said she has worked incredibly hard to be where she is.

She told SwimSwam: "I've experienced a lot of muscle loss and strength loss. [Swimming has] been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.

"Pre-transition there was a lot of of uncertainty about my future in swimming and whether or not I'd be able to keep swimming at all and so I'm just thrilled to be able to continue to swim.

"I love to compete and I just love to see how fast I can go. It's sort of an ongoing evolution of what I think I can go based on how my training sort of progresses and evolves."

And she said that her teammates have backed her all the way.

She added: "The team has been unbelievably supportive since the beginning, you know, teammates and coaches....I feel very supported. Just treated like any other member of the women's team."

LADbible has contacted UPenn for a comment.

Topics: Sport, US News

Dominic Smithers
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