Thomas becomes first trans woman to win NCAA title

College of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas turned the primary transgender NCAA champion in Division I historical past after profitable the ladies’s 500-yard freestyle in Atlanta.

Thomas beat Virginia’s Emma Weyant by 1.75 seconds with a time of 4 minutes and 33.24 seconds on Thursday, falling wanting Katie Ledecky’s NCAA file time of 4:24.06.

Erica Sullivan, a silver medallist within the 1,500 meter occasion ultimately yr’s Tokyo Olympics, completed third.

“It means the world to be right here,” Thomas advised ESPN.

Final month, USA Swimming unveiled a brand new coverage to permit transgender athletes to swim in elite occasions by setting out standards that goals to mitigate any “unfair benefits.”

Thomas competed on Pennsylvania’s males’s group for 3 years earlier than transitioning and transferring to the ladies’s group, setting a number of program information. Her eligibility has come beneath appreciable scrutiny, together with from a number of Pennsylvania group mates.

“I attempt to ignore it as a lot as I can,” Thomas added. “I attempt to concentrate on my swimming, what I have to do to prepare for my races. And simply attempt to block out all the pieces else.”

Thomas may even compete within the 200-yard and 100-yard NCAA championships this week.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Enhancing by Shri Navaratnam)

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