Penn swimmer Lia Thomas won the women’s 500-yard freestyle championship on Thursday to become the first transgender NCAA champion in Division I history.
She finished the race in 4:33.24, beating Virginia’s Emma Weyant by 1.75 seconds. The time fell short of Katie Ledecky’s NCAA-record time of 4:24.06.
Thomas used to compete on the Penn men’s team before transitioning and competing as a woman for the first time this season. Her eligibility has come under scrutiny with critics arguing that she has an unfair advantage in the pool after she went through male puberty. She met NCAA standards to compete as a woman after undergoing testosterone suppression therapy for more than two years.
Thomas addressed the scrutiny on