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Westlake alumna becomes first trans woman to win NCAA swimming championship

(University of Pennsylvania)

Westlake High School graduate and University of Pennsylvania senior Lia Thomas became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship after completing the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday.


Despite entering as the top seed in the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships, Thomas said she didn’t have a lot of expectations for this meet. Her final time was a season-best of 4 minutes and 33.24 seconds.

In second place was Emma Weyant from Virginia, who came in at 4 minutes and 34.99 seconds. Thomas also won the preliminary race that morning, finishing at 4 minutes and 33.82 seconds.

Thomas began her transition in 2019 when she started hormone therapy. Transgender athletes competing in gender-affirming events has created some controversy. The Associated Press reports there were few protesters outside the Georgia Tech facility on Thursday.

Thomas did speak to ESPN after the race but did not participate in the official news conference, which is required by the NCAA, which could cause her win to be reevaluated.

Thomas is entering Friday’s 200 freestyle as the top seed and 10th seed in Saturday’s 100 freestyle.

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