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Lia Thomas becomes first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title

Lia Thomas
Posted at 8:54 AM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 11:54:17-04

The first openly transgender athlete, Lia Thomas, has made history.

The University of Pennsylvania swimmer is the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title in any sport.

Thomas finished first in the women’s 500-yard freestyle event on Thursday, finishing 1.75 seconds ahead of Emma Weyant, who attends the University of Virginia.

Thomas had the fastest time of the NCAA season but still did not break the record set by Olympic medalist Katie Ledecky.

Despite making history, Thomas is facing criticism about whether trans women should be allowed to compete in women’s sports.

More than a dozen protesters from Save Women’s Sports and Young Women for America gathered outside the McAuley Center in Atlanta.

ESPN reports Idaho state Rep. Barbara Ehardt was also among those protesting.

Rep. Ehardt authored HB 500, the first law to restrict transgender athletes from playing in sports in accordance with their gender identity.

The law has been blocked in federal court.

On the same day of Thomas’ victory, Concerned Women for America filed a civil rights complaint against the University of Pennsylvania, alleging the university failed to protect the rights of collegiate female athletes by allowing Thomas to compete.

The group accused the University of Pennsylvania of violating Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools that receive federal funding.

Thomas is set to compete in two Freestyle competitions on Friday and Saturday.