Anonymous Penn Swimmer Speaks Out On Lia Thomas’ Presence On The Women’s Team

An anonymous member of the Penn women’s swim team recently spoke to media outlet OutKick regarding Lia Thomas, a trans woman who is competing on the women’s team this season after spending three seasons swimming as a male.

Thomas has set numerous Ivy League and Penn school records this season, including posting the nation’s top time in both the women’s 200 free (1:41.93) and 500 free (4:34.06) at Akron’s Zippy Invite last weekend.

SwimSwam has not independently verified that the comments in the report or that they belonged to a member of the Penn women’s team.

The Penn swimmer said that the members of the team have been vocal with the coaches regarding the fact that they aren’t entirely comfortable with Thomas being on the women’s team.

“Pretty much everyone individually has spoken to our coaches about not liking this,” the Penn swimmer told OutKick. “Our coach (Mike Schnur) just really likes winning. He’s like most coaches. I think secretly everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do.

“When the whole team is together, we have to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, go Lia, that’s great, you’re amazing.’ It’s very fake,” she added.

The swimmer also spoke on how incredibly fast Thomas has been this season.

“The Ivy League is not a fast league for swimming, so that’s why it’s particularly ridiculous that we could potentially have an NCAA champion. That’s unheard of coming from the Ivy League,” Thomas’ teammate said. Harvard’s Dean Farris won NCAA titles from the conference just three seasons ago, and former Penn swimmer Chris Swanson won an NCAA title in the 1650 free in 2016.

“On paper, if Lia Thomas gets back down to Will Thomas’ best times, those numbers are female world records. Faster than all the times Katie Ledecky went in college. Faster than any other Olympian you can think of. His times in three events are [female] world records.”

Thomas was a successful swimmer while competing as male previously, including earning runner-up finishes in the 500, 1000 and 1650 freestyle events at the 2019 Ivy League Championships.

Thomas began the season with personal best times from her time competing as a male of 1:39.31 in the 200 freestyle, 4:18.72 in the 500 free and 14:54.76 in the 1650. This season, she’s been 1:41.93 in the 200 and 4:34.06 in the 500 as previously noted, and also clocked 15:59.71 in the 1650 free, which ranks sixth in the nation.

Her teammate questions the impact Thomas’ testosterone suppression has had on her performances, though Thomas recently told SwimSwam she’s been undergoing hormone suppression for the last two and a half years.

“One year doesn’t mean anything. What about the years of puberty as a male, the male growth you went through as a man?” the teammate asked.

“There are a bunch of comments on the internet about how, ‘Oh, these girls are just letting this happen. They should just boycott or protest.’ At the end of the day, it’s an individual sport. If we protest it, we’re only hurting ourselves because we’re going to miss out on all that we’ve been working for.

“When I have kids, I kinda hope they’re all boys because if I have any girls that want to play sports in college, good luck. [Their opponents] are all going to be biological men saying that they’re women,” Thomas’ teammate told OutKick. “Right now we have one, but what if we had three on the team? There’d be three less girls competing.”

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1 year ago

People should not be able to change gender and play a sport that is the gender they changed to.

1 year ago

Lia is a Trans woman not a biological woman. Women sports were created for biological women NOT trans women. Create new divisions for trans women and biological women. Then trans and biological women can compete on a level playing fields. Period.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt
1 year ago

Was musing that a coach with the right AD could recruit an all M2W team of Lia fast ish swimmers and then own NCAAs

Then the next year there’d likely be change

Swim Mommy
1 year ago

As a parent of male and female college swimmers, I know the sacrifices athletes make to try to rise to the top of their sport. I see it— but they live it day after day. There is no way it is fair, after everything women have gone through to have their own space to compete in college sports, to have a transgender woman compete as a female. The point has already been made about it being more than testosterone. Lia has a right to transition just as everyone has the right to pursue happiness. But her dreams are not more important than others! We all struggle and sacrifice in life. You never know what people are going through. I understand… Read more »

1 year ago

Anyone know how tall she is?

Reply to  PatL
1 year ago

About 6’5″.

Swim Mommy
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Any data on what percentage of cis female swimmers have achieved a height of 6’5”?
Venturing a guess here, but I would say 0.00%

Reply to  Swim Mommy
1 year ago

I don’t have that data. There are several 6’5″ college volleyball players, though.

Swim Mom
Reply to  PatL
1 year ago

It appears they have scratched Lia’s weight and height off the internet

1 year ago

Allowing male – female trans athletes competing with women is like allowing doping. You achieve your dominance through medical procedures.

1 year ago

It is absolutely unfair to biological cis women in the sport, period. Respect trans people but also let cis women live and thrive. It’s already hard for them. They should find a solution, either create a new category or change rules.

1 year ago

The very least you could do is not include her deadname, even if it’s a quote from someone else.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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