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Who is Iszac Henig? Female trans swimmer Lia Thomas DEFEATED by trans male competitor

'A man just crushed the women's team,' the parent of a female swimmer from UPenn noted after Iszac Henig's win, following the Lia Thomas controversy
Iszac Henig (L) defeated Lia Thomas (R) at the recent Ivy League swim meet (Yale Univers, University of Pennsylvania
Iszac Henig (L) defeated Lia Thomas (R) at the recent Ivy League swim meet (Yale Univers, University of Pennsylvania

Embattled transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who had previously raised a wave of controversy after her record-shattering performance, has now been defeated by another transgender swimmer. At the recent Ivy League swim meet, held on Saturday, January 8, 2022, UPenn's Thomas was defeated by Iszac Henig from Yale University team. Henig is notably transitioning from female to male, contrary to Lia Thomas, who transitioned from male to female. 

Swimmer Lia Thomas, 22, who was assigned male at birth, had previously participated in the men's category at swim contests. After her transition, she competed with the women's team and notably won the 1,650 yard freestyle at the Zippy Invitational Event in Akron, Ohio. She notably defeated female swimmer Anna Sofia Kalandadze by 38 seconds. Her triumph created quite an uproar as many female swimmers from University of Pennsylvania as well as lawmakers and board members, lobbied against the inclusion of trans athletes with the women's team. 


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Iszac Henig, a native of Menlo Park, California, happens to be a senior at Yale University who specializes in freestyle and butterfly. The 20-year-old had come out as a trans man back in April 2021, after being a part of the Yale women swimming team for three years. In an opinion piece published in the New York Times in July last year, Henig noted, "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."

His latest list of victories includes defeating the reigning champion Lia Thomas at the Ivy League swim meet, organized between swimmers from Yale, Dartmouth and UPenn. Henig impressively won all three events at the meet, with two head-to-head showdowns with Thomas in the women's 100 and 400-yard freestyle events. He also set a record in the women's 50-yard freestyle.

Despite coming out as a trans man, Henig is still a part of the women's swim team as he has not started on testosterone treatment. As per one of his latest Instagram posts, Henig has had top surgery and is looking forward to competing in the men's section soon. 

"'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," he shared. 

However, Henig's victory further enraged the already fuming parents of UPenn's female swimmers, one of whom told DailyMail, "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." Another parent noted, "A man just crushed the women's team."