A teammate of Lia Thomas on the University of Pennsylvania women’s swim team has spoken out as the transgender swimmer has shattered school records.
Before her transition, Thomas competed at Penn for three years as a male.
She recently set school records in the 200-meter freestyle and 500-meter freestyle in November. This past weekend, the record-breaking stretch continued, as Thomas set a school record in the 1650-meter freestyle. Her teammate Anna Kalandadze finished in second place — over 38 seconds behind Thomas.
An anonymous teammate of Thomas spoke to the website OutKick, claiming most members of the team have expressed displeasure over the situation to their coach, Mike Schnur.
“Pretty much everyone individually has spoken to our coaches about not liking this. Our coach [Mike Schnur] just really likes winning. He’s like most coaches. I think secretly everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do,” the female Penn swimmer said.
“When the whole team is together, we have to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, go Lia, that’s great, you’re amazing.’ It’s very fake.”
NCAA bylaws permit transgender athletes to compete as women after they have completed one year of testosterone suppression treatment.
The teammate, according to OutKick, said it’s plausible that Thomas could not only win national championships in women’s swimming, but break national women’s college records that were set by eventual Olympic gold medalists Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky.
Thomas’ best times swimming as a woman at Penn are about two seconds behind Franklin’s record in the 200, and about 10 seconds and 56 seconds behind Ledecky’s in the 500 and 1,600, respectively. However, Thomas’ best times while swimming as a male would break both of Ledecky’s records and fall fractions of a second behind Franklin’s.
“The Ivy League is not a fast league for swimming, so that’s why it’s particularly ridiculous that we could potentially have an NCAA champion. That’s unheard of coming from the Ivy League,” the teammate said.
“On paper, if Lia Thomas gets back down to Will Thomas’ best times, those numbers are female world records. Faster than all the times Katie Ledecky went in college. Faster than any other Olympian you can think of.”