2022 NCAA DIVISION I WOMEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- March 16-19, 2022
- McAuley Aquatic Center, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia
- Short Course Yards (25 yards), Prelims/Finals
- Pre-Selection Psych Sheets
University of Pennsylvania senior Lia Thomas has opted for the 100 yard free instead of the 1650 yard free at the 2022 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. She will also swim the 200 yard free and 500 yard free.
Thomas swam for three seasons on the men’s team at Penn before undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy and joining the women’s team. While she was competing for the men’s team, the 1650 free was her best event: as a sophomore in 2018-2019, she ranked 34th in the NCAA in that race, just-missing an NCAA Championship invite.
Thomas drew national attention mid-season at the Zippy Invite when she swam 15:59.71 in the 1650 free, winning the race by more than 37 seconds. While she was well ahead of that field, nationally her time didn’t rank as well – she is just 11th in the country this season, 17 seconds behind Tennessee’s Kristen Stege, who is the top-ranked miler in the NCAA.
At the Ivy League Championships, she swam the 100 free instead, where she won in 47.63. That broke the Harvard Pool Record, the Ivy League Championship Record, and the overall Ivy League Record in the event. Miki Dahlke, who previously held the Harvard Pool Record, spoke out in support of Thomas after that race to ESPN:
“Records are made to be broken. I am a faster swimmer because of fast swimmers of the past, and the future of swimming will be faster because of the women at the top of the NCAA today,” Dahlke said.
She was among more than 300 athletes who signed an Athlete Ally’s letter in support of Thomas.
“I signed the letter because I believe Lia should have the same opportunity to compete in a sport she loves just like any other woman in the NCAA. I think it’s important to create a safe space for all athletes in sport,” she said.
Thomas is the 10th seed in the 100 free, which is one spot better than she would have been seeded in the 1650 free. She is also the top seed in the 200 free and 500 free.
She will be joined at the NCAA Championships by her Penn teammates and distance-group training partners Catherine Buroker and Anna Kalandadze. Buroker is the 29th seed in the 500 free, crushing her own personal best time at the ECAC Championships last weekend to catapult up the rankings and land among the invitees. Buroker will also swim the 1650 free with her “B” cut in that race.
Kalandadze, meanwhile, swam 16:07 in the 1650 free at that same meet, which knocked 21 seconds off her season best (and 5 off her lifetime best when she swam at Cal). She now ranks 18th nationally in that event, which will also qualify her for NCAAs.
No current member of the Ivy League has won an NCAA event title in women’s swimming & diving.