One of the big stories in college sports at the moment is Lia Thomas, a trans-woman swimmer who is smashing women’s records as a woman on the Penn women’s swim team after being a second-tier male swimmer last year. It seems many—perhaps most—women on the team aren’t happy about it. OutKick reports:
Even after a Wednesday team meeting where a source says Penn administration “strongly advised” its swimmers to avoid talking to the media about the situation surrounding transgender Penn swimmer Lia Thomas, a second female Penn swimmer has stepped forward to speak out via an exclusive interview with OutKick.
The second female Penn swimmer to speak out, who was granted anonymity due to what is viewed as threats from the university, activists, and the political climate, wants people to know that Penn swimmers are “angry” over the lack of fairness in the sport as Lia Thomas destroys the record books and brings fellow teammates to tears.
The second Penn swimmer to come forward was at the University of Akron Zippy Invitational where she watched Lia Thomas beat fellow teammate Anna Kalandadze by 38 seconds in the 1650 freestyle. OutKick’s source described Penn swimmers on the Akron pool deck as upset and crying, knowing they were going to be demolished by Thomas. . .
After just five meets and the Akron Invitational, Thomas has not just destroyed opponents. The Penn freestyle records are being rewritten by a swimmer who was second-team All-Ivy league in 2018-19 — as a male.
Akron was an absolute beatdown by Thomas, but it wasn’t without disgust from fans who were in the building watching meet, pool, and school records drop one after the other.
“Usually everyone claps, everyone is yelling and cheering when someone wins a race. Lia touched the wall and it was just silent in there,” OutKick’s source said during a phone interview.
“When [Penn swimmer] Anna [Kalandadze] finished second, the crowd erupted in applause.” . . .
A team source who was at Wednesday’s meeting says the administration drew a line in the sand and announced that Thomas wasn’t going anywhere and it was non-negotiable.
That leaves disgusted teammates no choice but to either stay quiet or speak up against the wishes of the school and risk repercussions. The second swimmer to speak out says that it’s her belief that coach Mike Schnur is just staying quiet and going about his business.
I’ve thought for a long time that if women athletes don’t want to—or can’t—speak out publicly, they ought to try this: at the next race with Lia Thomas, every other woman in the field should simply stand on the blocks after the gun fires and let Lia Thomas swim alone. (Ditto for women track athletes facing similar unfair competition.) Refuse to take the seat at the back of the bus. And the university can’t complain that they spoke to the media!