Sport

Trans swimmer Lia Thomas smashes two United States women’s records

Emily Chudy December 7, 2021
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Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has broken United States records

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has broken United States records (University of Pennsylvania)

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has broken United States records in two races over the weekend.

The 22-year-old student from Austin, Texas, competed in the Zippy Invitational in Ohio where she smashed two records in the 200m and 500m freestyles. 

The University of Pennsylvania announced on its website that Thomas had finished “best in the country” in the 500m freestyle on the event’s first day. On the second she “delivered another record-breaking performance” with the 200m freestyle. 

Thomas previously broke two University of Pennsylvania records in the same races, 200m and 500m freestyle, at an event in November.

Lia Thomas said in June that she was unsure she could continue swimming after coming out as trans.

Speaking to Penn Today, she said: “[Swimming] is a huge part of my life and who I am. I’ve been a swimmer since I was five-years-old.

“The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid.

“Realising I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like?

“Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport and being able to continue is very rewarding.”

Lia Thomas’ wins come as ten states in the United States, including Texas and Florida, have decided to ban transgender athletes from competing in female sports at schools.

Students in those states will now be forced to play on sports teams that correspond to the gender assigned to them on their birth certificate. 

At the time the ruling was announced in Texas, Rebecca Marques, Human Rights Campaign Texas state director, said the legislation marks a “dark and frightening day for thousands of families in Texas who fear for the safety and future of their transgender children”.

More: swimming, Trans, trans athletes, University of Pennsylvania

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