ATLANTA — Biologically male swimmer Lia Thomas, who identifies as a transgender woman, tied for fifth place in the women’s 200 yard freestyle race Friday evening.
Stanford junior Taylor Ruck finished the race first with a time of 1:41:12, heat sheets show. Thomas tied for fifth with senior Riley Gaines of the University of Kentucky with a time of 1:43:40.
As the speaker announced each of the swimmers ahead of 200 freestyle, the crowds cheered enthusiastically. The Daily Wire observed a noticeable decline in cheering when the speaker announced Thomas.
Swimmers from across the nation gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, for the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championship amid backlash over Thomas, a transgender swimmer who has been competing in female races.
The University of Pennsylvania swimmer clocked in at 4:33:24 in the women’s 500 freestyle finals Thursday evening, finishing first ahead of the University of Virginia’s Emma Weyant, a freshman.
Thomas will also compete in the 100 freestyle on Saturday.
Many of the transgender swimmer’s female competitors have been reticent to share how they feel about competing with — and losing to — a biological man.
Some swimmers, who indicated to The Daily Wire that they took issue with Thomas competing in their races, said that they would consider chatting only after they had completed their NCAA races.
Others directed The Daily Wire to the media relations teams at their universities, such as the University of Tennessee, which declined interview requests until after the NCAA championships.
The transgender swimmer’s presence is noticeable on the pool deck — aside from the fact that Thomas stands taller than many of the swimmers, the athlete also clearly has male anatomy.
“Soul crushing would be not an understatement,” said the father of a Virginia swimmer, asked by The Daily Wire how it felt to watch Thomas win over a pool of biological women.
“I just don’t think it’s fair,” said the father, who asked not to be identified in order to preserve his daughter’s anonymity. “These young ladies have worked too hard to be treated like that.”
While some onlookers cheered as the transgender athlete was announced the winner on Thursday evening, the stands also resonated with a chorus of boos and yells.
The Virginia dad said that it has been “incredibly obvious” from where he has been sitting in the stands that parents “don’t appear to be supportive of Lia Thomas.”
“It happened several times yesterday when he finished, when he touched the wall and finished,” the father explained. “Nobody clapped, really. When the second place person came in, the place exploded.”
One of Thomas’ teammates, who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity, said that Thomas’ participation in women’s athletics has “completely ruined the integrity of the sport.”
“It’s not necessarily an achievement in my mind,” the swimmer told Fox. “Women’s records are separate from men’s records. It’s its own distinct category because no woman is going to be as fast as a man, and here is just completely — we’re just throwing away the definition of a record to fit into someone else’s agenda of what it should mean to them when in reality it makes no scientific sense to do so.”
The student added that she finds it “disappointing to know that the NCAA lacks the courage to do the right thing.”
“I think if Lia were to break an Olympian’s record, it would cause a lot of damage to the sport and to women, and I think it would cause more people to come out [against the guidelines], people that were afraid to speak before,” the student said.
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