Transgender swimmer the latest to "smash records" in women's competition

Transgender swimmer the latest to "smash records" in women's competition
(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

Sadly, these stories have become so common that they’re almost routine these days. Another transgender college athlete competing in a women’s swimming event for the University of Pennsylvania took first place in several events, beating out actual women who had been training for the opportunity for years. Lia Thomas (formerly William) won in the 100m, 200m, and 500m freestyle events, breaking previous university records in the process. The trans swimmer also turned in a very fast time in the 400m relay. For the three previous years, Thomas had competed in the men’s division without notable levels of success. The feedback from some of the female competitors and their families was swift and harsh, but the school shows no signs of altering its policies in this matter. (Daily Mail)

A trans swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, who previously spent three years competing in men’s competitions is now breaking records in women’s events.

Lia Thomas, formerly named Will, has competed in a number of events recently, as she attended a tri-meet with Cornell and Princeton universities on November 20.

She ‘blasted’ University of Pennsylvania records in the 200m freestyle and 500m freestyle at the event – posting times that beat almost any other female swimmers across America.

Thomas apparently met the current NCAA requirement of undergoing one year of testosterone suppression treatment prior to competing on the women’s team. There are no additional requirements.

The reporting about how Thomas was “smashing records” is a bit misleading, however. Records for the University of Pennsylvania were certainly broken, but the reality is that this tournament really didn’t produce any results that would endanger the NCAA records for these events.

Let’s take a quick look at the times recorded for Thomas see how they stack up against the current NCAA records for these events in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

In the 100m freestyle, Thomas recorded a time of 49.42 seconds. That’s nearly four seconds slower than the current women’s record of 45.56 and almost ten seconds short of the men’s record of 39.90. Thomas posted a time of 1:43:47 in the 200m freestyle. The women’s record is 1:39:10. And that time is laughably slower than the men’s record of 1:29:15. The results in the 500m event were even more underwhelming. Thomas managed a winning time of 4:35:06. The women’s record is more than ten seconds faster at 4:24:06. And if the newly announced female had attempted to race the men’s division record holder, Thomas would literally have been lapped, since that record is currently 4:08:19.

None of this means that Thomas doesn’t still maintain an unfair advantage in women’s competition as a biological male. There’s definitely an advantage and the actual females who had to settle for second and third place in each event are the ones paying the price for it. But the underlying reality is that even posing as a female, Thomas won’t be taking down the very best of the best young women in the sport. But it’s still a lot better result than we would be seeing against the men’s division where Thomas likely wouldn’t even qualify for a spot in the tournament.

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David Strom 8:01 AM on March 27, 2023