Lia Thomas Wins NCAA Swimming Title


Photo courtesy of MARCA

Bailey McLean, News Editor

Lia Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle with the season’s best time of 4:33.24 minutes making Thomas the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming competition in Division I. Right behind her in second place was swimmer Emma Weyant finishing in at 4:34.99. 

Along with her victory came a great deal of controversy over whether transgender women and girls should be allowed to participate in female sports. Before the race, protesters stood outside the Georgia Tech facility and even inside some held signs that read, “Save Women’s Sports.”  In February an anonymous letter was written on behalf of some of Thomas’s teammates claiming that she had an “unfair advantage” but supported her transition outside the pool, just not in it. Olympic gold medalist Micheal Phelps commented on the situation saying it was complicated, he went on to say, “I think sports should all be played on an even playing field.”

In an interview with ESPN after the race, Thomas said, “I try to ignore negative comments as much as I can. I try to focus on my swimming and what I need to do to get ready for my races and block out everything else.” In 2019, Thomas began hormone therapy; she kept it a secret for so long because she thought that her coming out would jeopardize her ability to swim. Thomas says “I was struggling, my mental health was not very good. It was a lot of unease, about basically just feeling trapped in my body. It didn’t align.”