Transgender swimmers Iszak Hoenig and Leah Thomas were undefeated in the women’s Ivy League championship on Thursday, with one breaking the record and both leaving their biological rivals behind on the second day of competition at Harvard University.
Thomas, who swam on the University of Pennsylvania men’s team as recently as 2019, when she began switching to a woman for medical reasons, set the fastest time of any swimmer in the women’s 500m freestyle preliminary heats by a full five seconds, finishing in 4 :41.19. five seconds short of the competition record and six seconds short of the NCAA all-time record.
Meanwhile, Hoenig, who swims at Yale and is in the process of transitioning from female to male but is allowed to compete as a woman because she has yet to take testosterone, broke the pool record in the 50-yard freestyle by just nearly three. -tenths of a second with a time of 22.05.
Both now have the opportunity to capture their events in the final, which is scheduled for tonight, as the debate over the NCAA’s decision to allow them to compete continues to rage.
Transgender swimmers Isak Hoenig (right) and Leah Thomas (left) continued to dominate the women’s Ivy League championship on Thursday, breaking records and dusting the women’s competition on the second day of competition at Harvard University.
On Wednesday, they met in the 800-yard freestyle relay, recording the fastest relay time of any swimmer on the first night of competition.
The sheer dominance shown by the athletes raised concerns about their continued participation in the historic competition.
USA Swimming earlier this month announced a new requirement that transgender women must suppress their testosterone levels for three years before competition, a rule that would see Thomas expelled.
Thomas immediately after the recording showed a time of five seconds better than all the other competitors. The sheer dominance shown by her and other trans athletes such as Hoenig (not pictured) raised concerns about their continued participation in the historic competition.
22-year-old Thomas is allowed to compete as a woman because she has been undergoing hormonal treatment for a year.
Hoenig dives from the starting block into the water during the 50-yard freestyle on Thursday.
Hoenig, 21, who swam topless and uses the pronouns he/him, wore a men’s swimming trunk on Wednesday and wore a women’s suit during the race on Thursday. He took off his top after the race was over
It turned out that Thomas would be banned from the NCAA championship in Atlanta in March because the NCAA said they would follow US swimming rules.
However, last week the NCAA, the national body that oversees college sports, said it would be unfair to introduce a new midseason policy allowing Thomas to compete in NCAA championships.
Her continued participation in women’s competition has been deeply divisive: former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, who won gold in the decathlon as Bruce Jenner, was among those who criticized Thomas for swimming in the women’s races.
“If a cis woman is caught taking testosterone twice, she will be disqualified for life, while Leah has already had 10 years of testosterone,” said Nancy Hogshead-Makar, three-time Olympic swimming champion and president of the Champion Women advocacy group. .
“It’s about keeping the sport gender-segregated: a space where women are really respected and where they can win,” she said.
Hogshead-Makar agreed to a letter signed by 16 anonymous teammates of Thomas expressing concerns about her involvement.
Thomas celebrates with his fellow Pennsylvania sailors. Less than three years ago, she was part of the school’s men’s team.
Hoenig, shown here in the middle in gray, is talking to her teammates. He is in the process of becoming a man, but he is allowed to participate in the games.
“We fully support Leah Thomas in her decision to reaffirm her gender identity and transition from male to female,” the letter says, according to CNN.
“Leah has every right to live her life. However, we also understand that when it comes to competitive sports, the biology of gender is a separate issue from anyone’s gender identity.
“Biologically, Leah has an unfair advantage over her competition in the women’s category, as evidenced by her ranking jumping from 462nd in the male category to 1st in the female category.”
However, other members of the team spoke out in support of Thomas.
“We want to express our full support for Leah in her transition,” the athletes said.
“We appreciate her as a person, teammate and friend. The views expressed by an anonymous member of our team do not reflect the feelings, values, or opinions of the entire Penn team of 39 women from diverse backgrounds.
“We understand that this is a big controversy and we are doing our best to deal with it, while still focusing on doing our best in the pool and in the classroom.”
The final on Thursday should start