Two transgender swimmers, Lia Thomas and Iszac Henig, blew away the competition at the women’s Ivy League Swimming Championships.
University of Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas first won the 500-yard freestyle in 4 minutes and 37.32 seconds, beating the second-place swimmer by 7.5 seconds. The next day, Thomas also won the 200-yard freestyle race in a minute and 43.12 seconds, setting a new Ivy League record.
Thomas also won the 100-yard freestyle event on Saturday, setting a new meet record in this event as well and narrowly beating out Iszac Henig.
Yale’s Iszac Henig, also a transgender athlete, won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.93 seconds.
Thomas, previously a swimmer for Penn’s male swim team, began the transition from male to female in 2019 and underwent hormone therapy to gain eligibility to compete in NCAA women’s events. Now, Thomas is making headlines for record-breaking swims against biological females, although they did not break records in the men’s league.
While still competing on the men’s team, Thomas only ranked in the mid-500s (554th in the 200 freestyle). Now, Thomas is breaking records in the same exact event that she couldn’t even get close to winning while competing in a fair environment.
Henig, on the other hand, has just recently begun transitioning from a female to a male. He has not yet taken male hormones but has received top surgery, removing his breast tissue.
Henig has chosen to transition slowly so he can continue to compete for the women’s team, a smart move considering he would not be winning any races against male competitors.
In January, both transgender athletes were at the center of controversy after Henig just barely beat Thomas in a 100-yard freestyle race. After the race, an anonymous Penn swimmer alleged that the two athletes colluded to rig the race and ensure a win for Henig.
“Look at [Lia’s] time, I don’t think she was trying,” said the Penn swimmer. “I know they’re friends and I know they were talking before the meet. I think she let her win to prove the point that ‘Oh see, a female-to-male beat me.'”
For more than a decade, the NCAA has required transgender women to be on testosterone suppression treatment for a year before being allowed to compete on the women’s team. However, earlier this month USA Swimming issued its new policy on transgender athletes.
According to CNN Sports, “Effective immediately, USA Swimming said a three-person panel of independent medical experts will now decide whether “prior physical development of the athlete as a male” will give an unfair advantage over cisgender females.”
The NCAA said it will not be enforcing those rules until after the season, which allowed Thomas to dominate in this year’s national championships.