Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania, a male who is competing as a woman, ran into a tough competitor Saturday in the form of Yale swimmer Iszac Henig, a female who is transitioning to be man.
On Saturday, Henig won the 100-yard freestyle in a women’s swimming meet, while Thomas finished fifth. Henig was part of Yale’s winning team in the 400-yard freestyle relay, in which Thomas competed for the losing Penn team, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
— New York Post (@nypost) January 9, 2022
Thomas did not show the level of dominance he has in recent months, when he was shattering records, although he won the 200-yard freestyle.
Although Thomas has stirred controversy among Penn athletes and parents by dominating every event, Saturday’s controversy crown belonged to Henig.
Henig, 20, of Palo Alto, California, deliberately delayed finishing sexual transitioning by putting off hormone treatment in order to compete as a female.
Henig made waves not only by winning the 50-yard freestyle going away.
After the race, Henig pulled down her swimsuit top to show she had had her breasts removed, the Daily Mail reported.
That caught at least one spectator by surprise.
“I wasn’t prepared for that. Everything is messed up. I can’t wrap my head around this,” the spectator, whom the Daily Mail described as a parent, told the outlet. “The NCAA needs to do something about this. They need to put science into the decision and discussion.”
One parent noted a contrast from previous competitions where Thomas seemed to swagger his way to victory, saying Thomas “didn’t even try” and “looked very relaxed.”
Henig wrote about her transition in a piece published by The New York Times in June.
“As a student athlete, coming out as a trans guy put me in a weird position. I could start hormones to align more with myself, or wait, transition socially, and keep competing on a women’s swim team. I decided on the latter,” she wrote.
“I value my contributions to the team and recognize that my boyhood doesn’t hinge on whether there’s more or less testosterone running through my veins. At least, that’s what I’ll try to remember when I put on the women’s swimsuit for competition and am reminded of a self I no longer feel attached to.”
Women’s sports & any chance at sanity have gone right out the window
“Iszac Henig easily beat out his opponents in the women’s 100-yard freestyle”
— Jim Hanson (@JimHansonDC) January 9, 2022
Penn’s Lia Thomas wins two races at tri-meet, loses 100-meter freestyle to transgender Yale swimmerhttps://t.co/a1qGOnZ8js
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 8, 2022
The Ivy League meet Saturday took place with only parents and a few guests president, U Penn having decided this was necessary due to COVID-19.
“How convenient that they have now avoided this potential conflict that they’re now aware was going to take place,” the Daily Mail quoted a parent as saying.
Although parents and fellow swimmers have said they believe having Thomas on the team is unfair, Penn has said the college supports him.
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