Lia Thomas is making a name for herself by breaking two Ivy League records during the Zippy Invitational at the University of Akron. During the three-day swimming event in Ohio, the young swimmer proved that she’s not someone to mess with.
During the Zippy Invitational, Thomas was also able to win three events and break three UPenn records. During two events, Lia Thomas met the NCAA’s ‘A’ standard, which will allow her to compete in those events for the national championship meet which will be next March in Atlanta.
The 22-year-old, who wasn’t able to swim last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, is grateful that she has been able to qualify and swim this year. After coming out, the trans swimmer was most worried about her future swimming career.
“The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid,” she said. “Realizing I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like?”
According to NCAA rules, transgender athletes must have one year of testosterone suppressing treatments to be able to compete in women’s sports. The college senior competed her first two years at UPenn before she transitioned and then was able to come back her senior year to compete as her true self.
And, so far, competition has been amazing for Lia Thomas. During the Zippy Invitational, she started with the 500-yard freestyle and with a 1-second lead during the first 50 yards, the 22-year-old was able to win first place and beat her teammate, Anna Sofia Kalandaze, by just 14 seconds.
Her first-place win in the 500-yard freestyle broke four records, including the meet record, the Akron pool record, the UPenn record for the 500-yard freestyle, and an Ivy League record that the trans swimmer had broken just two weeks prior.
Lia Thomas’ busy day didn’t stop there. She also competed in the Penn 200 freestyle, 400 medley relay, and the 50-yard freestyle sprint. The college swimmer placed fourth in the first two competitions and sixth in the freestyle sprint.
On Saturday, the young swimmer took on an event that she had previously bested. Two weeks before the Ziggy Invitational at the University of Akron, Thomas competed in the 200-yard freestyle at a home meet against Princeton and Cornell Universities.
The UPenn swimmer blasted the competition out of the water by breaking the UPenn record and reaching the top of the NCAA season chart for that category. During the Ziggy Invitational, many were wondering if Lia Thomas was planning on breaking her own record.
At the University of Akron, Thomas showed fans that some records are meant to be broken again and again. During the 200-yard freestyle, the trans swimmer finished with a time of 1:41:93 and beat her competitors by just seven seconds.
For the 200-yard freestyle, she broke her own record, set a pool and meet records, and also lowered her school and league marks for swimming. She then went on to compete in the 800-yard freestyle, placing second, and win the 1650-yard freestyle.
Lia Thomas is the first transgender swimmer to compete in NCAA women’s swimming since Natalie Fahey back in 2019. Because of her high marks last weekend, Thomas could go on to be the first trans woman swimmer to become a Division I All-American, or even a national champion depending on how she does in future NCAA competitions.
With how she competed in the Ziggy Invitational, Thomas has proved that she is a strong competitor for the national championship meet.
While Lia Thomas is breaking records and dominating the swimming world, many online haters have come out and criticized the young swimmer for being a trans athlete and making the sport unequal for other female swimmers.
To those haters, Thomas said, “Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport. Being able to continue is very rewarding.”