Penn transgender swimmer loses to Yale transgender competitor

Henig was born female but had a mastectomy and delayed male hormone treatment in order to compete on the Yale women's swim team.

Updated: January 9, 2022 - 6:21pm

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University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological man who dominated women's collegiate swimming competitions, lost to Yale transgender swimmer Iszac Henig in the 100-meter race and 400-freestyle relay at the Ivy League meet Saturday.

Thomas competed as a man for two and a half years before transitioning in accordance with NCAA guidelines and ultimately dominating women's competitions. Thomas has broken several national women's records but won two races on Saturday: the 500-meter, which was the athlete's slowest of the season, and the 200-meter, which was the athlete's second-slowest swim of the season.

Henig, 20, was born female but had a mastectomy and delayed male hormone treatment in order to compete on the Yale women's swim team. 

Saturday's crowd was reportedly stunned when Henig won the women's 100-yard freestyle in 49.57 seconds, while Thomas came in fifth at 52.84 seconds, The Daily Mail reports. Henig went on to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in 50.45 seconds, compared to Thomas' 51.94 seconds. 

After winning the 50-yard freestyle in 22.76 seconds, the Yale athlete pulled down the top of the transitioning swimmer's  swimsuit.

"I wasn't prepared for that. Everything is messed up. I can't wrap my head around this. The NCAA needs to do something about this. They need to put science into the decision and discussion," an anonymous UPenn parent told The Daily Mail.

Henig wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times last year.

"As a student athlete, coming out as a trans guy put me in a weird position. I could start hormones to align more with myself, or wait, transition socially, and keep competing on a women's swim team. I decided on the latter," the swimmer wrote.

"I value my contributions to the team and recognize that my boyhood doesn't hinge on whether there's more or less testosterone running through my veins. At least, that's what I'll try to remember when I put on the women's swimsuit for the competition and am reminded of a self I no longer feel attached to," Hening stated. 

Another parent told The Daily Mail, "A man just crushed the women's team."