Penn Teammates Express Support for Lia Thomas

by Sarah Berman 51

February 02nd, 2022 College, Ivy League, News

On Tuesday, members of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming and diving team released a statement in support of their teammate, Lia Thomas.

“We want to express our full support for Lia in her transition,” the athletes said. “We value her as a person, teammate, and friend. The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds. We recognize this is a matter of great controversy and are doing our best to navigate it while still focusing on doing our best in the pool and classroom.”

The statement was not signed, but a Penn spokesperson told ESPN “It represented several members of the team.”

This marks the first public expression of support from Thomas’s teammates. The statement references an anonymous team member who was extremely critical of Thomas and the decision that allowed her to compete. The anonymous swimmer bashed Thomas to Fox News, The Daily Mail, OutKick, and the Washington Examiner. 

Thomas began making international headlines when she set school records in the 200 and 500 freestyle at the Zippy Invitational in December 2021. Thomas currently holds the fastest 200 freestyle (1:41.93) and 500 freestyle (4:34.06). She also ranks 7th in the 1,650 freestyle (15.59.71).

In January, the CSCAA, Penn Athletics and the Ivy League issued statements of support for Thomas, and confirmed their commitment to create an inclusive athletic environment for all. 

The NCAA updated its transgender policy in January by passing the buck to USA Swimming and FINA to create sport specific criteria. USA Swimming then issued a statement in favor of transgender athlete inclusion

On Tuesday, USA Swimming released its new Athlete Inclusion, Competitive Pay and Eligibility Policy (AICEEP), which is effective immediately. The elite athlete eligibility policy consists of “​​Evidence that the prior physical development of the athlete as a male, as mitigated by any medical intervention, does not give the athlete a competitive advantage over the athlete’s cisgender female competitors.” And, “Evidence that the concentration of testosterone in the athlete’s serum has been less than 5 nmol/L (as measured by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry) continuously for a period of at least thirty-six (36) months before the date of application,” per USA Swimming. 

The previous International Olympic Committee (IOC) policy was 10 nmol/L, double the standard USA Swimming is implementing.

Penn is scheduled to compete in the Ivy League Championships February 16-19, and the NCAA Championships March 16-19. 

51
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

51 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Turd
7 months ago

Old coach

Admin
Reply to  Michael Phelps Squats
7 months ago

I don’t think it’s that confusing. The team has divided opinions. As is acknowledged above, they are a group of unique individuals each with their own unique beliefs and opinions.

Remember Me?
7 months ago

Two anonymous sources vs “several members of the team”

This is going well.

Last edited 7 months ago by Remember Me?
ACC
Reply to  Remember Me?
7 months ago

Well, this one has been confirmed by a Penn spokesperson, which is more than the anonymous sources.

matt
7 months ago

:/ lia thomas should not compete with women

Last edited 7 months ago by matt
Swammer
Reply to  matt
7 months ago

Lia is a woman. I think you should fix that sentence

McKeown-Hodges-McKeon-Campbell
Reply to  Swammer
7 months ago

TWAW is circular logic

jeff
Reply to  Swammer
7 months ago

one can acknowledge that Lia is a women while simultaneously agreeing that she should not compete against other women, at least not the way the male/female division is done now

Mr. Pack
Reply to  Swammer
7 months ago

Where did matt say say she wasn’t a woman? I don’t get why the people who want to bash people who think Lia should not compete against women go immediately to complete strawman. Why?

Bash
Reply to  Mr. Pack
7 months ago

If you’re talking from a linguistic standpoint, and specifically the field of pragmatics, then the way Matt wrote the sentence indicates that they do not believe Lia is a woman. This falls under the realm of Grice’s maxims, and more specifically the maxim of quantity.

Alex Dragovich
Reply to  Bash
7 months ago

That part⬆️

Coachy
Reply to  Alex Dragovich
7 months ago

“That part” where they are 100% incorrect?

Mr. Pack
Reply to  Bash
7 months ago

“lia thomas should not compete with women” does not equal “lia thomas is not a woman”. This is the real world bud, not some weirdo fantasy world you live in.

jim davis
7 months ago

Lia is challenging for multiple Ivy and NCAA records and titles. She *should* have the support of her teammates. Penn could have a top 20 finish nationally just based on Lia, despite being a mid-level Ivy program overall. They owe Lia their support.

JustAFan
Reply to  jim davis
7 months ago

By your logic, teammates should invariably support any effort that improves their conference/NCAA standing, right? Doping, hacking the timing system, taking out your opponent’s knee…

Obviously not. It’s more nuanced than “if it gives us a better chance we support it.” It’s a complex ethical conversation about the fairest way for trans athletes to compete. No matter which side you fall on, you know that.

Last edited 7 months ago by JustAFan
Not-so-Silent Observer
Reply to  JustAFan
7 months ago

Being trans and on hormone therapy that correlates/is-in-line-with the stated rules and guidelines and supporting those efforts is not the same as being in support of doping and other rule breaking methods of winning.

Why are we going to such extremes to argue against supporters of Lia? Mind boggling

JustAFan
Reply to  Not-so-Silent Observer
7 months ago

Huh? I’m not arguing for or against Lia’s participation at all. I was just pointing out the error in the commenter’s logic. They suggested “of course they support Lia because she makes them contenders.” I said it’s not that simple. Which it isn’t, I think we can agree.

All good?

Ferb
7 months ago

I don’t think it’s quite accurate to say the anonymous swimmer “bashed” Thomas to those various outlets. The swimmer was bashing – if that’s the word you want to use – the rules that allow Thomas to compete against biological women, and to a lesser extent, the coach for allegedly putting winning ahead of fair play (in the opinion of the anonymous swimmer).

swimapologist
Reply to  Ferb
7 months ago

I’m not sure you’ve read all of the statements by the two anonymous swimmers. A lot of it is definitely “bashing.”

swimapologist
Reply to  Ferb
7 months ago

I’m also fascinated by how willing people have been time and time again in these comments to forgive the things her teammates have said, while constantly ascribing ulterior motives to Lia.

Like, Lia and the coaches are only doing this because they want to win, but her teammates aren’t just lashing out because they’re mad that they’re not winning. They’re not lashing out because they’re bad teammates. They’re just lashing out because of “fair play.”

It’s weird. Isn’t it weird?

Coach Tom
7 months ago

I have to admit the messaging here is somewhat baffling given that other swimmers have already spoken out against her participation on the team. That means either these outlets were outright making up an anonymous source (definitely not out of the question) or that this statement is not actually representative of the entire team.

Someone here has to be lying.

Admin
Reply to  Coach Tom
7 months ago

Nowhere does this statement say it is “representative of the entire team.” It is cited to “several members of the team.”

The anonymous swimmer who spoke to Outkick described her opinions as representative of “pretty much everyone” and “everyone.”

If there’s one thing that this statement clarifies, it’s that the swimmer(s) who are speaking to Outkick are exaggerating the support they have for their statements.

Where exactly the division line falls, we might not ever know.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

Maybe? What’s the definition of “several members of the team”? The word “several” seems to be doing some heavy lifting. Obviously that means not “everyone” would fit the Outkick speaker, but if “pretty much everyone” is all but a few, and “several” is a “few”, well….

(Note: I’m not saying this is the case, just pointing out you’re jumping to just as possible biased conclusions as virtually anyone else on either side of this case)

Admin
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
7 months ago

The anonymous swimmer supplemented her “pretty much everyone” with an “everyone,” sans qualifiers.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

Right, but we’re talking about a hot-button topic with a bunch of 18-22yr olds commenting anonymously. There’s bound to be some discrepancies on all ends. That’s my only point. As we’ve seen, the truth often lies somewhere in the middle, and that just bore out with your newest report.

Tampa Alum
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
7 months ago

ooooh Dr. Swim Phil. We know where you stand on this, and we know what you’re saying is the case.

BTW – what happened to your Twitter??? Looks like you nuked it???????

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Tampa Alum
7 months ago

Yep, I stand almost exactly with another successful Tampa alumnus, Seth Huston, who put it very eloquently and intelligently with a much larger platform that I’ll probably ever have.

BTW, it’s too bad you’re still following (or googling) a dead account I lost about a decade ago due to a lost password. You’re missing out on those Tom Brady and USMNT re-tweets recently!

Oldswimdad
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
7 months ago

More than two but fewer than many is the definition of several. Suggests to me this statement might not represent the majority by far.

Sam B
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

but but, it says that exactly by denying the previous statement
The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team”
bold, italic, by me

Admin
Reply to  Sam B
7 months ago

I don’t follow what point you’re trying to make.

Stan Crump
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

I think he means that the entire team doesn’t necessarily feel the way the complainants did. The supporters pointed out that they didn’t. Who supports whom on the team? We may never (and probably don’t need to) know.

take an english class?
Reply to  Sam B
7 months ago

okay it says the word “entire” but the point you are trying to make doesn’t make sense. literally two people could support lia and the statement “ The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team” is still true. literally all that means is there are varying opinions aside from the anonymous member. any fraction of something means it’s not all of it. the statement doesn’t contradict anything.

Tampa Alum
Reply to  take an english class?
7 months ago

Taking a single word out of an entire paragraph and trying to portray it as a standalone word even though, in context it’s actually saying the opposite, is a whole new level of “out of context,” even for the radical right.

Sam B
Reply to  take an english class?
7 months ago

I see your point but its more about the context than the language, It’s obvious and always has been that a few people came out against Lia. Never the whole team. So stating that in the way you interpret it has no news value. The way I interpret it: the entire team disagrees with that one anonymous person. But it’s just that, a guess

PVSFree
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

I will say, I do not envy anyone involved with the Penn teams this year. Having this level of international media scrutiny about your team must just be a nightmare, regardless of how you feel one way or the other.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  PVSFree
7 months ago

Yeah, but they’re learning some serious grown-up lessons about a whole lotta sh*t that most adults won’t learn in a lifetime. That will serve them far better than a PB in an amateur sport (none will be pro swimmers). They should take pride in their resiliency at the very least.

Anonymoose
Reply to  Coach Tom
7 months ago

Reading le article certainly helps

Coach Tom
Reply to  Anonymoose
7 months ago

I read the article, as well as the Outkick article.

This statement: “The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds.”

From the Outkick article: “Pretty much everyone individually has spoken to our coaches about not liking this.”

The Penn statement is claiming that one individual speaking out against Lia is not representative of the team, whereas the anonymous swimmer is claiming that “pretty much everyone” has spoken to the coach about not liking it, which does seem representative.

It’s pretty obvious that someone is being dishonest about how representative their statement is. The only wiggle-room… Read more »

Big Mac #1
7 months ago

Civility, logic, compassion, understanding, and nice comments incoming

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Big Mac #1
7 months ago

“this is probably just one or two members of the Woke Mob at the Very Liberal Penn, most of the team is still furious about this and will be giving statements to the very smart website shortly.”

Here, beat a few dozen people to it.

Alex Dragovich
Reply to  Steve Nolan
7 months ago

Right! That woke Wharton business school just hemorrhages socialists.

Jimbob
Reply to  Alex Dragovich
7 months ago

What does the business school have to do with the (much larger) undergraduate student body and admin, which certainly is liberal?

(Also, how many outspoken religious conservatives do you suppose there are at Wharton anyway? As a person who attended a similar graduate school, I’m guessing it’s about a handful.)

Mr. Pack
Reply to  Steve Nolan
7 months ago

This comment is a total L. This isn’t your dreams bud, this is real life.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Mr. Pack
7 months ago

This you?

comment image

Mr. Pack
Reply to  Steve Nolan
7 months ago

This is you trying to be funny with your stupid comment. Fail meme though.