Lia Thomas becomes first trans athlete to win NCAA Division I title
The University of Pennsylvania's Lia Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title after finishing first in the women's 500-yard freestyle championship, ESPN reports.
State of play: Thomas finished with a time of 4:33.24, followed by Emma Weyant, who had a time of 4:34.99. Erica Sullivan finished third at 4:35.92.
- Thomas finished about nine seconds behind Olympian Katie Ledecky's 4:24.06 record.
What she's saying: "I didn't have a whole lot of expectation for this meet," Thomas said after the race Thursday evening, per AP. "I was just happy to be here and race and compete the best I could."
Of note: Thomas declined to participate in the NCAA-required post-race news conference, saying that she tries to "block out" distractions and tries "to focus on my swimming, what I need to do to get ready for my races," per ESPN.
- Thomas could potentially face action by the NCAA’s swimming and diving championships committee for skipping it, AP reports.
Catch up fast: The NCAA last month cleared the way for Thomas to compete at nationals after saying it would not change its policy on eligibility requirements for trans swimmers.
- The agency allows each sport's governing body to decide eligibility requirements.
- USA Swimming says trans women must maintain a testosterone level below 5 nanomoles per liter for at least 36 months to be allowed to compete.
Between the lines: There is no evidence that suggests that having higher levels of testosterone gives athletes an unfair advantage.
What we’re watching: Thomas is scheduled to compete in the 200-yard freestyle on Friday and the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday.
Go deeper: Elite trans athletes decry youth sports bans