Lia Thomas: Penn swimmer ends NCAA career

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Penn swimmer Lia Thomas finished eighth in Saturday’s 100-yard freestyle final at the NCAA championships, wrapping up her college career.

Virginia rookie Gretchen Walsh won the title (46.05 seconds) for her first NCAA individual championship, while Thomas finished in 48.18 seconds.

Earlier in the championships, Thomas became the first known transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship after winning the 500 yard freestyle final. She then tied for fifth in Friday‘s 200-yard final.

Thomas has followed NCAA and Ivy League rules since she began her transition in 2019 by starting hormone replacement therapy.

Thomas at the swimming championships.

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“There are so many bills in different states right now trying to ban trans women from sport at all levels,” said Iszac Henig of Yale. was quoted as saying by ESPN after Saturday’s events. Henig is a transgender male eligible under the female category since he has not yet started hormone therapy.

Thomas and Henig wrote “Let trans kids play” on their arms for the race, according to ESPN.

“We’re not allowed to have anything on our clothes, but the rules don’t say anything about our skin,” Henig added. “So I took the platform I was hoping for to say that trans athletes are just like any other athlete. We deserve to be able to play and build community.

Continued Sports Illustrated Blanket:

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