'Swiming World' Editor Compares Trans UPenn Swimmer Lia Thomas to 'Doped' Athletes

The editor argued that Lia Thomas' birth as a male gives her an undue advantage over biological female competitors.

Transgender swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania, Lia Thomas has been receiving heat ever since having recently created two national records in the women's 200-meter freestyle and 500-meter freestyle at the Zippy Invitational. The 22-year-old swimmer competed as a male at Penn University for three years before her transition. Her participation in the swimming events as a woman drew an objection from various circles. Now, Swimming World Editor, John Lohn has compared Lia to a 'doped' athlete and slammed National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) for letting her compete as a woman.

Swimming World is one of the most popular swimming magazines in the US having a huge reader base. The editor-in-chief of the magazine, John Lohn stated that Lia avails the same advantages that doping provides other athletes. In an op-ed published in the magazine on Sunday, December 19, Lohn argued that despite the hormone suppressants Lia has taken, following NCAA guidelines, her 'male-puberty advantage has not been rolled back an adequate amount.' NCA rules state that trans players have to undergo one year of testosterone suppression before they can be eligible to compete as women.

Lohn noted that Lia benefited from the testosterone naturally produced by her body for 20 years and that suppressants can't make that strength disappear in a year. Lohn clarified that he is not calling Lia a 'doper' but the fact that her being born as a male gives an undue advantage over biological female competitors cannot be ignored.

lia Thomas
Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania. Twitter

'Doping has the same effect'

"She is stronger. And this strength is beneficial to her stroke, on turns, and to her endurance. Doping has the same effect," the editor wrote. Lohn also added that testosterone suppressants only account for an approximate 2 to 3 percent change in performance. The time difference between male and female swimming records, however, is around 11 percent.

'Women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete'

After Lia's wins, the outraged parents of fellow swimmers wrote a letter to the NCAA earlier this month demanding that the rules for competing for trans athletes be changed. The letter noted that the integrity of women's sports is at stake and a precedent in which 'women do not have a protected and equitable space to compete' is being set.

Lohn, in his op-ed, lauded the parents for speaking out against the 'grave injustice.' He also stressed that it's important that NCAA acted quickly now, for the 'good of the sport, and for fairness to those competing as biological women.' "This scenario, with the effects of doping, cannot linger," he noted.