Penn’s Lia Thomas Wins 100m, 200m Freestyle Races Against Harvard

On Saturday, Penn swimmer Lia Thomas came off with victories in the 100 meter and 200-meter freestyle races against Harvard. The wins came days following the NCAA revised its policy for transgender involvement and how it will be ascertained based on different sports.

Thomas completed the 100m race in 50.55 seconds and with the second-place contender in at 51.51. In the 200m race, Thomas won in 1:47.08, whereas the second-place finisher reached 1:48.44. Thomas, who was part of the Penn men’s team during her initial three years, teamed up with the women’s team following the transformation.

Updated Policy to Come Into Effect With Winter Championships

The NCAA declared that the policy would start with the winter championships. The NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships are scheduled for March 16-19 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.

On Thursday, Braden Keith, the co-founder, and editor-in-chief of SwimSwam told Fox News that “Based on the new NCAA policy put out on Wednesday, there is nothing that would preclude Lia from racing in March at the NCAA Championships. There is a framework, some guidance, but nothing that anybody would recognize as a line-in-the-sand threshold.”

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He further added, “The internal pressure within the sport in the last 24 hours has ramped up on USA Swimming and FINA to make a decision, to come up with a rule or a threshold, and it’s left them in kind of a tough spot – they’ve had this responsibility, the duty to decide what the NCAA rule is, thrust upon them when I’m sure they were hoping to be able to kick the can down the road a little while longer.”

Earlier this month, Thomas headed at the Zippy Invitational Event in Akron, Ohio. She completed the 1,650-yard freestyle 38 seconds before the next closest finisher, teammate Anna Sofia Kalandaze.

Thomas’ winning time was 15:59:71, and her UPenn teammate Anna Kalandaze held second place with a time of 16:37:44. 

Thomas won the 500-meter freestyle by finishing with a 4:34:06 back on December 3. She achieved 14 seconds before Kalandaze, to set the United States record.

The next Saturday, Thomas gained victory in the 200-meter freestyle within 1:41:93, which provided her the hastiest time for a female in the nation.

As per the new policy declared by the NCAA, it seems Thomas will still be entitled to race this season for Penn. The Quakers have two more meets before the end of the regular season.

Penn's Lia Thomas
Penn’s Lia Thomas

Schedule for the Ivy League Championships and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships

The Ivy League Championships are scheduled for February 16-19, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships are February 24-27.

Penn and the Ivy League Continued Supporting Thomas

Penn and the Ivy League both gave backing for Thomas and committed to working with the NCAA about her participation in the championships.

In a statement, Penn Athletics said “Penn Athletics is aware of the NCAA’s new transgender participation policy. In support of our student-athletes Lisa Thomas, we will work with the NCAA regarding her participation under the newly adopted standards for the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship.” 

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“The Ivy League is aware of yesterday’s NCAA Board of Governors’ decision to update its transgender policies beginning with the 2022 NCAA Winter Championships.

The league will work with the University of Pennsylvania and its other member institutions to determine the mid-year eligibility impact to any of its transgender student-athletes who might be affected by this decision and will provide an update when appropriate,” The Ivy League added.

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