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Penn member Leah Thomas broke two records during her dominant performances in Ivy League Championships Last week I got some support from a swimmer with one of the signs I broke.
Ex-Harvard swimmer Mickey Dalke set the Blodgett Pool record in 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle bouts and the meet record in the 200 freestyle. Dalke expressed her support for Thomas and the record-breaking performance ESPN after tournaments.
“Records are made to be broken,” Dalke said. “I’m a faster swimmer because of the fast swimmers in the past, and the future of swimming will be faster because of the women being at the top of the NCAA today.”
Thomas scored 47.63 in 100. The mark broke the meet record and the group record. In the 200 free race, Thomas finished 1.43:12 – which also broke the meet and pool record.
Thomas has been in the national spotlight throughout the season as the debate over the eligibility of transgender athletes in the NCAA competition raged.
Dalk was among 300 people who signed a sports letter in support of the Pennsylvania swimmer.
“I signed the letter because I believe Leah should have the same opportunity to compete in a sport she loves as any other NCAA woman,” she said. “I think it’s important to create a safe space for all athletes in the sport.”
The wins will help Thomas gain some momentum in the NCAA Championship.
There has been some question as to whether she will be able to compete in light of the controversy over the NCAA’s recently updated transgender participation policy.
Last month, the College Athletics Board of Directors announced its updated policy for transgender participation, saying that eligibility would be determined on a sport-by-sport basis. If there is no national governing body for the sport, then the NCAA sport will follow the policy of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The NCAA said its policy will take effect in March, starting with the Division I women’s swimming and diving championships, March 16-19.
On February 1, USA Swimming updated its policy requiring transgender athletes who compete at an elite level to have small levels of testosterone — half of what Thomas was allowed to compete with — for at least 36 months before they become eligible. Thomas’ future in the pool was immediately uncertain.
However, the NCAA said last week that the CMAS’s Administrative Subcommittee had decided it would not change testosterone guidance after all, noting that “implementing additional changes at this time could have unfair and potentially harmful effects.” schools and student athletes wishing to compete in the 2022 NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships.”
The decision paved the way for Thomas to compete in the NCAA Championship.