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UPenn swim team parents speak out on inclusion of trans athletes

'I think the NCAA needs to change its policies, and find a way to include transgender women without trampling all over biological women.'

UPenn swim team parents speak out on inclusion of trans athletes
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As Lia Thomas continues to dominate the Ivy League women’s swimming circuit, parents of female swimmers on the University of Pennsylvania swim team are demanding the NCAA review its rules on the participation of trans athletes in women’s sports.

Lia Thomas, who is transgender and originally named Will, swam for the men’s team for three years before dominating the women’s competitions, Rebel News reported.

Parents who spoke to Fox News said they were concerned with the situation their daughters are facing after Thomas shattered two national records.

“It starts with the NCAA,” said the parents of a Penn swimmer. “I think the NCAA needs to change its policies, and find a way to include transgender women without trampling all over biological women.”

“I think that this is obviously an issue and they should probably just look at how they’re going to handle it and maybe handle it better in the future because right now they’re not handling it so well,” said another parent, Sue Feldman.

Thomas, who competed in the school’s last home meet, which also included swimmers from Dartmouth College and Yale University, handily won the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle. Thomas was defeated in the 100-yard freestyle behind Iszack Henig, a biological female presenting as a man.

According to parents at the meet, Thomas appeared to be coasting, and “barely trying” when winning the races.

“I wasn’t prepared for that. Everything is messed up. I can’t wrap my head around this. The NCAA needs to do something about this. They need to put science into the decision and discussion,” a parent told the Daily Mail.

“Henig is allowed to swim against women because the Yale swimmer has not undergone transgender hormone treatment. Henig clarified that explanation further in a 2021 opinion column,” The Daily Wire reported.

Several parents told Fox News that they sympathize with Thomas, and the girls competing in the sport.

“I feel like she followed all the rules that she’s supposed to follow” Feldman said, adding that she “empathizes with the other girls that are playing against her.”

The Dartmouth swimming parent said he felt for Thomas, but “it’s not fair to girls that have swum since they were 6 years old to compete…for someone who had a chance at winning the Ivy League Championship and that dream is shattered.”

Similarly, parents of the Penn women’s swimmer told Fox News they “have nothing against Lia personally” but felt for their daughter who had been “affected directly” since she swims the same events and had been “bumped out” of her spot.

“When she came on to the team, she had dreams of maybe breaking some records, things like that and that may not be possible now,” the parents told Fox News. “And she’s angry that she sees her friends being bumped from relays or a roster that travels to a meet.” 

Thomas’ presence on the team has drawn criticism from both teammates who say that they are afraid to speak out in public for fears of being cancelled. Last week, the Ivy League released a statement defending UPenn’s decision to allow Thomas to continue participating and representing the university on its women’s swimming and diving team.  

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