Penn swimmer Lia Thomas finished eighth in the 100-yard freestyle final Saturday at the NCAA championships, wrapping up her collegiate career.
Virginia freshman Gretchen Walsh won the title (46.05 seconds) for her first individual NCAA championship, while Thomas finished in 48.18 seconds.
Earlier in the championships, Thomas became the first known transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship after winning the 500-yard freestyle final. She later tied for fifth in Friday’s 200-yard final.
Thomas has followed NCAA and Ivy League rules since she began her transition in 2019 by starting hormone replacement therapy.
“There are so many bills in different states right now trying to ban trans women from sport at all different levels,” Yale’s Iszac Henig was quoted as saying by ESPN after Saturday’s events. Henig is a transgender man who is eligible in the women’s category since he has yet to start hormone therapy.
Thomas and Henig wrote “Let trans kids play” on their arms for the race, according to ESPN.
“We’re not allowed to have anything on our clothes, but the rules don’t say anything about our skin,” Henig added. “So I took the platform I was hoping to have to say that trans athletes are just like any other athlete. We deserve to be able to play and build community.”
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