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Leah Thomas, a transgender swimmer in Pennsylvania, sheds the national spotlight on Ivy League Championships Over the weekend he left as champion in three different races.
Thomas won the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle races during the week as she prepares for the NCAA Championships in March. Thomas swam 47.63 in the 100, 1:43.12 in the 200, and 4:37.32 in the 500. While Thomas finished with the fastest times in the Ivy Championships, he wasn’t the fastest transgender swimmer in the country.
There were many other conference tournaments held last week. Some of the best teams in Top 25 CSCAA She was in the business, including No. 1 VirginiaNumber 3 TennesseeNo. 4 North Carolina and number 11 Louisville. For Thomas, it could be a preview of what will happen when you face some of the best swimmers next month.
Thomas finished fifth among some of the other competitors who competed in their conference tournaments last week. Virginia Katherine Douglas and Gretchen Walsh were the 100 Freestyle stars. Douglas won the ACC Championship with 46.81 and Walsh finished with 46.86. NC State’s Katherine Berkoff earned 46.89 and Morgan Scott’s Alabamawas 47.32
Thomas owned 200 Ivies. Compared to the rest of the nation, the transgender swimmer finished high. Thomas 1:43.12 was good for third. Alexandra Walsh of Virginia had a 1:42.28, which was fine for an ACC title, and the Kentucky Riley Gaines won the SEC Championship with 1:42.62. Brooklyn Dowthright, of Tennessee, finished 1:43.45
In the 500 free race, Thomas placed another top three performer of the week. She finished with 4:37.32. SEC Champion Julia Morzinski, of Tennessee, scored 4:35.95. Virginia’s Emma Wayan, the ACC champ, earned a 4:37.23. Thomas’ time was better than Alabama’s Kensey McMahon, who had 4:38.34, and Kristen Steig of Tennessee who swam 4:38.50.
Thomas had a dominant weekend, setting quite a few meet-and-greets. The swimmer was even named after the swimmer with the highest points in the meet.
But the competition that Thomas will have next will be against some of the best swimmers in the country.
With greatness likely to be achieved in Atlanta next month, comes the controversy that has overshadowed the swimmer’s 2021-22 season — whether transgender female athletes should compete against biological females.
Thomas got some support at Blodgett Pool last week. An “8 Against Hate” banner was displayed above the pool among the flags representing each of the Ivy League’s member schools, and several athletes were seen wearing T-shirts bearing the same logo.
Last month, the debate finally reached the NCAA’s doorstep. The governing body for college athletics announced its updated policy for transgender participation, saying eligibility will 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.