Penn’s Thomas swims to Ivy title in 500 freestyle


CAMBRIDGE, Mass — College of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas is an Ivy League champion.

Thomas, who’s a transgender girl, gained the 500-yard freestyle Thursday evening in 4 minutes, 37.32 seconds, a Blodgett Pool report and her finest time for the reason that Zippy Invitational in December.

Thomas was amongst three Penn swimmers within the ultimate, with teammate Catherine Buroker ending seven seconds behind in second place and Anna Kalandadze putting fourth.

Buroker and Kalandadze applauded as Thomas was awarded her medal. Following the ceremony, the three Quakers posed for photos on the rostrum, Thomas holding an “Ivy 2022 Champion” signal.

Thomas entered the evening as the highest seed after profitable her morning warmth with a time of 4:41.19. She closed her Day 2 slate by swimming the second leg of Penn’s 200 freestyle relay that positioned fourth. She is scheduled to swim the 200 freestyle and both the 1,650 or 100 freestyle later this week.

On Wednesday, Thomas was a part of Penn’s 800 free relay that completed fourth.

Penn senior Andie Myers, who competes within the freestyle and butterfly, wore a facemask with a transgender flag Thursday to point out assist for Thomas.

“I would like everybody at this meet to know that I assist her,” Myers mentioned. “She’s labored for all of this and she or he’s given up a lot to transition and to be authentically herself. I believe it is actually vital and I believe it is actually courageous what she’s doing right now.”

Princeton’s Ellie Marquardt, the five hundred freestyle champion in 2020, completed third Thursday.

No swimmers have been made obtainable to media after the races.

Additionally among the many newly minted convention champions Thursday was Yale’s Iszac Henig, who gained the 50 freestyle. Henig, who’s a transgender man, gained in 21.93 seconds, breaking his personal pool report set earlier Thursday in preliminaries. He returned to the pool Thursday evening to assist Yale set a meet report within the 200 freestyle relay. The Bulldogs completed in 1:29.66.

Thomas’ success has introduced nationwide consideration to the difficulty of transgender athletes, garnering criticism and reward. A number of of Thomas’ teammates have spoken out anonymously, each in assist of Thomas and criticizing her inclusion on the ladies’s staff. Thomas was a member of the Penn males’s staff for 3 seasons.

On Feb. 3, three-time swimming Olympic gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar despatched an unsigned letter on behalf of 16 Penn swimmers and their households asking the Ivy League to not advocate for Thomas’ inclusion this postseason. On Feb. 10, greater than 300 members of the swimming neighborhood — together with representatives of every of the Energy 5 conferences, 5 of Thomas’ present teammates (together with Myers) and Tokyo Video games silver medalist Erica Sullivan — signed an open letter printed by Athlete Ally supporting Thomas.

Thomas returns to the pool Friday for the 200 freestyle.

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