Lia Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:34.06 at the Zippy Invitational in Akron, Ohio, on Saturday to break the school’s all-time mark and establish the best time in the nation this season, according to the university. On Sunday, she won the 1,650 freestyle by more than 38 seconds in 15:59.71 to set another university record.
In a previous meet against Ivy League rivals Princeton and Cornell, Thomas won the 200 in what was the best collegiate time (1:43.47) so far, in addition to capturing the 100 and 500.
Thomas, from Austin, Texas, could become NCAA Division 1 swimming’s first transgender All-American or national champion, Outsports reported. The championships are in March in Atlanta, and Thomas has established herself as a strong contender.
Swimming is “a huge part of my life and who I am. I’ve been a swimmer since I was 5 years old,” she told Penn Today in June. “The process of coming out as being trans and continuing to swim was a lot of uncertainty and unknown around an area that’s usually really solid. Realizing I was trans threw that into question. Was I going to keep swimming? What did that look like?”
Thomas, who’s competing as a senior after the Ivy League canceled the previous season due to the pandemic, added: “Being trans has not affected my ability to do this sport and being able to continue is very rewarding.”