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University of Pennsylvania hails transgender swimmer Lia Thomas as 'the first Quaker female swimmer to win an NCAA individual title'

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male who competes in women's swimming, won a 500-yard freestyle at the 2022 NCAA Championships.

The school hailed the news, claiming that Thomas "became the first Quaker female swimmer to win an NCAA individual title."

According to CNN, the victory makes Thomas the first transgender individual to win a NCAA Division I title.

Thomas won the race with a time of 4:33.24, which was more than one second faster than Emma Weyant, who placed second with a time of 4:34.99.

Thomas could score even more wins soon — the controversial swimmer is also slated to participate in the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle.

The issue of whether biological men should be allowed to compete in sports designated for women remains an issue of significant cultural contention, and Thomas has added fuel to the proverbial fire by racking up wins.

"The very simple answer is that I’m not a man," Thomas previously told Sports Illustrated. "I'm a woman, so I belong on the women’s team. Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets."

Concerned Women for America has lodged a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights against the University of Pennsylvania, alleging that Thomas's inclusion in women's swimming runs afoul of Title IX.

"We plead for you to issue clear, decisive guidance to clarify the law and prevent colleges and university athletic programs from violating women's rights by allowing biological male athletes to compete in the women's category of sport," the complaint says. "Protecting all female student-athletes from this type of injustice is the very essence of OCR's mission to ensure equal access to educational opportunities and benefits the law requires under Title IX."

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