2022 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- March 16-19, 2022
- McAuley Aquatic Center, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia (Eastern Daylight Time)
- Prelims 10AM /Finals 6PM
- Short Course Yards (25 yards)
- Live Results
- Championship Central
- SwimSwam Preview Index
Erica Sullivan replied to a comment on an Instagram post explaining that the photo of Emma Weyant, Sullivan, and Brooke Forde was not a podium protest of Lia Thomas’s win in the 500 freestyle at the 2022 Women’s NCAA Championships on Thursday.
Weyant, Sullivan, and Forde finished in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the 500 freestyle. The trio were all Olympic teammates in Tokyo.
@DannyReds commented on an Instagram post, “I wish she wouldn’t have posed with the 3rd and 4th place girls with Lia alone on the podium.”
Sullivan replied, “@DannyReds dude I was taking a picture with my closest friends from the Olympics. It was after the first group photo was taken. News sites have used that photo and taken it out of context.”
— Kyle Sockwell (@kylesockwell) March 18, 2022
Sullivan is referring to a photo that was captured on the podium for the 500 freestyle final. After the award ceremony and the full podium picture was captured, Weyant, Sullivan and Forde posed for a picture on the 3rd place spot, after the remaining A-Finalist exited the photo. Thomas was still in her 1st place spot while this photo was taken. As the Olympians were photographed, a wider shot of this image that included Thomas standing at 1st place went viral on the internet, with news sites taking the photo out of context and calling it a protest by excluding Thomas.
After the 500 freestyle, the internet and social media exploded with people referring to Weyant as “the real winner.” Weyant has gained a massive amount of Instagram followers since the 500 freestyle final. Prior to the event, she had 29.1 thousand followers. At the time of this article, she has 40.4 thousand followers, an 11.3 thousand increase. Post race, Weyant received about 1,200 comments on her most recent Instagram post about the 500 freestyle, despite the image having nothing to do with the competition.
Both Sullivan and Forde have publicly supported Thomas’s participation in NCAA competition. Sullivan was one of the 300+ NCAA swimmers who signed a letter in support of Thomas, transgender, and non-binary athletes. Additionally, Sullivan wrote an opinion piece for Newsweek titled “Why I’m Proud to Support Trans Athletes like Lia Thomas.” Forde wrote a statement in support of Thomas that was read by her father Pat Forde, a Sports Illustrated reporter, on the College Football Enquirer podcast.
In the 500 freestyle final on Thursday, Thomas became the first openly transgender swimmer to win an NCAA title, and the first openly transgender person to win an NCAA Division I title, finishing at 4:33.24 seconds. The trio of Olympians finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Weyant was 2nd (4:34.99), Sullivan was 3rd (4:35.92), and Forde was 4th (4:36.18).