UPenn’s Thomas Sets Record at Ivy League Championships

University of Pennsylvania senior Lia Thomas won her second title at the Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships this weekend, setting a meet record in the 200-yard freestyle.

Thomas, a transgender woman, took first place with a time of 1:43.12 —  nearly 3 seconds faster than Harvard’s Samantha Shelton (1:45.82). The Crimson’s Molly Hamlin finished third in 1:47.33.

ivyAll season long Thomas has been at the center of controversy regarding Title IX issues in women’s collegiate athletics.

ESPNW’s Katie Barnes highlighted the weekend’s event in a recent article. Below is an excerpt from Barnes’ piece.

A smiling Shelton extended her hand over the lane line after the race to congratulate Thomas. On the podium, Thomas high-fived and posed with Penn’s other two swimmers in the final, sixth-place finisher Bridget O’Leary and seventh-place finisher Margot Kaczorowski.

Thomas’ time broke the Ivy League championships record of 1:43.78, set in 2020 by Harvard’s Miki Dahlke. Dahlke also held the previous pool record, setting it at 1:45.00 in 2018.

With the 200 free win, Thomas became the first swimmer at the 2022 Ivy championships to win two individual events. On Thursday, Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:37.32, a pool record.

Thomas’ times in winning the Ivy titles are well off her best times of the season. In December at the Zippy Invitational in Akron, Ohio, Thomas set the nation’s best times in the 200 (1:41.93) and 500 (4:34.06), qualifying her for the NCAA championships in March in Atlanta.

Since then, Thomas has been at the heart of a debate about who gets to compete and win, in women’s sports. Before competing on the women’s team, Thomas spent three seasons on the men’s team at Penn. Several of Thomas’ teammates have spoken out anonymously, both in support of Thomas and criticizing her inclusion on the women’s team. One teammate, Penn senior Andie Myers, has publicly declared her support for Thomas, wearing a face mask bearing the transgender flag during the meet.

Thomas has declined multiple interview requests from ESPN. No swimmers were made available to the media after the race.

In the final event of the night, Thomas swam the final leg of the 400 medley relay for Penn, which finished fourth.

Thomas is expected to swim in either the 100 or 1,650 freestyle on Saturday. She is the top seed in the 1,650 and seeded second in the 100.

To read the full story from Barnes on, click here.