16 Penn University swimmers ask Ivy League to prevent Lia Thomas from competing

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


FISM News has followed the public saga surrounding transgender swimmer Lia Thomas. The latest update involves several of Thomas teammates on the Penn University swim team, where Thomas, a biological male, has had a record-setting season in women’s swimming.

Only days after 39 members of the team released a statement of public support for Thomas, 16 anonymous Penn female swimmers wrote a letter asking Penn University to not challenge the potential new policy in NCAA swimming that could bar Thomas from participating in the upcoming NCAA championships.

These young women argue that the clear advantage Thomas has as a biological male competing against women is unfair, and they are asking their school to let the league prevent Thomas from participating if the new policy passes.

Recent video circulated which shows how much Thomas has dominated her oponents:

The letter, which uses female pronouns to refer to Thomas, reads:

We fully support Lia Thomas in her decision to affirm her gender identity and to transition from a man to a woman. Lia has every right to live her life authentically. However, we also recognize that when it comes to sports competition, that the biology of sex is a separate issue from someone’s gender identity. Biologically, Lia holds an unfair advantage over competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her rankings that have bounced from #462 as a male to #1 as a female. If she were to be eligible to compete against us, she could now break Penn, Ivy, and NCAA Women’s Swimming records; feats she could never have done as a male athlete…We, 16 members of the Penn Women’s Swimming Team and our family members, thank USA Swimming, for listening to our request to prioritize fairness for biological women in our elite competitions. We ask that Penn and the Ivy League support us as biological women, and not engage in legal action with the NCAA to challenge these new Athlete Inclusion Policies.

The letter does not reveal the identities of the players. Former Olympic swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar signed it on behalf of the players.