Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas set a pool record at Harvard and beat the next closest swimmer by 7.5 seconds. Thomas is scheduled to swim the 200 freestyle and either 100 or 1,650 freestyle later this week. None of the swimmers were available to the media after the race.
In January, the National Collegiate Athletic Association pledged to follow each sport’s governing body when it came to rules for transgender swimmers. However, when USA Swimming released a stricter set of rules following backlash as a result of Thomas’ times, the NCAA said it would not enforce those rules until after the current season. That decision allowed Thomas to swim in the Championships.
Fellow transgender swimmer Iszac Henig, who is transitioning from woman to man but has not begun taking hormone treatments, also set a pool record and won in the 50 freestyle. Iszac, who uses male pronouns and has had breast removal surgery, swims topless while wearing men’s swimming briefs.
Controversy continues to surround the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s swimming competitions. 16 of Thomas’ teammates issued a letter asking the national organization not to allow transgender athletes to compete. That letter refuted another letter which claimed to speak for the majority of the team assured the public that Thomas had support. The swimming world quickly sought signers for a fourth letter to support Thomas, the vast majority from other schools and former athletes who no longer compete. The NCAA has not addressed any of the letters.