Lia Thomas, a transgender woman, has made history by becoming a national champion.
Thomas, who attends the University of Pennsylvania, finished the 500-yard freestyle in 4 minutes, 33.24 seconds on March 17 to become the first known transgender athlete to win a Division I national championship in any sport, ESPN reported. Thomas finished 1.75 seconds ahead of second-place Emma Weyant, who attends the University of Virginia.
The race began with the crowd cheering for each of the swimmers, but fans were noticeably quiet for Thomas' introduction. Save Women's Sports founder Beth Stelzerwho opposes transgender women participating in girls' and women's sports activitiesdraped a vinyl banner with the organization's phrase over the railing.
Concerned Women for America announced that the organization filed a Title IX complaint against the University of Pennsylvania, claiming Thomas shouldn't be allowed on the team because that violates the provision.
"[The win is] a symbol of Lia's resilience," Schuyler Bailarwho, at Harvard, became the first known transgender man to compete on a Division I men's teamtold ESPN. "The fact that she's able to show up here, despite protesters outside, people shouting and booing her, I think it's a testament to her resiliency. And it's also a symbol that we can both be who we are and do what we love."