A University of Pennsylvania women's swim team member claimed to OutKick that teammate Lia Thomas — a biological male who transitioned to female and has been dominating the competition this season — arranged to lose a recent race to a Yale biological female to prove men aren't always stronger than women.
What's the background?
After three years of racing against men, Thomas has been competing as a transgender female this season and has broken several UPenn and Ivy League women's records in the process. In one long-distance race, Thomas bested the second-place finisher by over half a minute.
But Yale University's Iszac Henig beat Thomas in the in the 100-meter freestyle Jan. 8 with a time of 49.57 seconds; Thomas finished with a time of 52.84 seconds.
Thing is, Henig also is transgender — but in the opposite direction. Henig is a biological female transitioning to male who hasn't taken hormones yet, which allows Henig to still race against women.
What did Thomas' teammate claim?
The UPenn swimmer — a biological female — spoke to OutKick on the condition of anonymity "due to what is viewed as threats from the university, activists, and the current political climate" and said she believes Thomas and Henig colluded before the Jan. 8 meet.
“Looking at [Lia’s] time, I don’t think she was trying,” the Penn swimmer alleged to OutKick. “I know they’re friends, and I know they were talking before the meet. I think she let her win to prove the point that, ‘Oh see, a female-to-male beat me.'”
The outlet pressed the swimmer on whether she believes Thomas' loss to Henig was arranged, and she replied, “I do. I can’t say for sure, but I wouldn’t be shocked if I found out that was 100% true."
The athletic departments for UPenn and Yale on Friday didn't immediately reply to TheBlaze's requests for comment on the allegation.
'It was blatantly obvious'
And Thomas' losing time of 52.84 seconds? In November, Thomas swam the 100 freestyle in 49.42, OutKick said — which would have bested Henig on Jan. 8.
The UPenn women's swimmer also told the outlet that Thomas appeared to take it easy during the 200-meter freestyle Jan. 8, yet Thomas still won by two seconds with a time of 1:48:73.
“I was on deck and said to a friend, ‘She’s literally not trying.’ You could just tell,” she told OutKick. “It was blatantly obvious. I was watching the 200 free, and [Thomas] was literally keeping pace with the other girls. She was No. 1 in the country at one point. These are definitely talented swimmers, but they’re not the caliber of being at the top in the country or anything like that.”
The anonymous UPenn swimmer added to the outlet that "you can tell when someone is dying, and they’re swimming slow. You can also tell when someone is not trying, and I could see [in the 200 freestyle] that Lia was not trying.”
OutKick also noted that Thomas was accused by those in attendance of “coasting” and “barely trying” in the 500 freestyle race that Thomas won by one second.
A mixture of outrage and support has followed Thomas for the past few months:
- In December a biological female swimmer on the UPenn squad spoke out against Thomas being allowed to compete with them, saying "I think secretly everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do." Soon a second swimmer acknowledged that the entire team is "angry" over the unfair situation.
- What's more, the UPenn women swimmers reportedly wanted to boycott the Jan. 8 meet over the Thomas situation but didn't as they were "afraid to be perceived as transphobic."
- If that weren't enough, a UPenn female swimmer said Thomas identifies with a legendary baseball player who broke the major league's infamous color barrier: "She compares herself to Jackie Robinson. She said she is like the Jackie Robinson of trans sports."
- However, both UPenn and the Ivy League have issued statements supporting the inclusion of Thomas in women's competitions.
Thomas has qualified for the women’s NCAA championships in the 200 and 500 freestyle, OutKick said.