UPenn's Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas was accused of 'purposely' losing the 200-yard freestyle final at NCAA swimming championships, a day after becoming a national champion. Thomas came fifth place in Friday's competition held at McAuley Aquatic Center.
On Thursday, Thomas had become the first transgender athlete to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association swimming championship after beating Emma Weyant.
Thomas Was Booed Following Her Win
Following her Thursday night's historical win, Thomas was not only booed by the spectators but also ignored by the other winners while standing on the podium.
ESPN reported that Thomas, who ended up fifth in Friday's 200-yard freestyle, was beaten by Stanford junior and Canadian Olympian Taylor Ruck, who stood first with record creating 1 minute, 41.12 seconds.
Following her win, Ruck, after a brief handshake with Thomas, went over to hug Cal senior Isabel Ivey, who stood second in the race. Speaking to the outlet Ruck said, "I'm so glad to have my teammates behind me. This whole season has just been a blast being back. I'm so grateful to have them here."
"There's been chatter about Lia being here, but I just try to zone everything out," I was excited to be able to race someone who goes so fast," she went on to add. Thomas will return to participate in the final event, the 100-yard freestyle, on Saturday morning.
Thomas Gets Ignored After Loss
Following her 'surprising' defeat, there were few on social media who wondered if Thomas lost deliberately. "She's purposely blown races in the past, you gotta wonder if she's finally figured it out, and is letting bio women win.....too little too late Lia," tweeted a user.
"Finally the criticism is getting to her. She's obviously faking 5th place when she could have easily won. She's trying to be just 'one of the girls', when she's not," wrote another.
"LIA SAID I COULDA KICK THEIR ASS & WIN BUT I PLAY IT SMART TO MAKE EM THINK I AM A REAL GIRL. I NOT EMBARRASED I LOVE DA FAME, GO PENNY STATE TRANS U," read another tweet.
Fox News reported that after finishing fifth, Thomas left the pool and was ignored by other swimmers who passed her to hug and cheer for the other female swimmers.