'Second is the new first': Outrage as trans swimmer Lia Thomas storms to victory at NCAA meet

Internet rushes to congratulate second-placed swimmer Emma Weyant after Thomas becomes the first transgender to win a swimming championship


                            'Second is the new first': Outrage as trans swimmer Lia Thomas storms to victory at NCAA meet
Swimmer Lia Thomas during the 2022 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
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UPenn swimmer and controversial transgender icon Lia Thomas made history on March 17, 2022, after becoming the first transgender athlete to win a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimming championship. However, she was greeted with boos as attendees applauded the athlete who came second - Emma Weyant. That was pretty much the same story online, where the internet slammed Thomas while applauding Weyant.

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 The swimmer has been making headlines and social media trends since December 2021 after dominating college meets and smashing several women's records, after years of competing as a male. Her controversy has dominated sports news for months now, with even Olympian Michael Phelps weighing in. However, a defiant Thomas has refused to be bogged down by the criticism, saying "I am a woman! Just like anybody else." 

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Her controversy has even turned political, with states like Alabama, Wyoming, and Florida all attempting to cut down on trans athletes with state-wide laws. Even the NCAA has been forced to update its guidelines, but so far, it hasn't stopped Thomas from dominating the competition.

Thomas makes history at NCAA championship

At the March 17 event, Thomas won the 500m freestyle event recording a time of 4:33:24. However, as she went to collect her medal, boos broke out in the crowd, which she acknowledged in an interview with ESPN. "I try to ignore it as much as I can, I try to focus on my swimming what I need to do to get ready for my races and I just try to block out everything else," she told the network.

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The win makes her the first transgender athlete to ever win an NCAA championship, but its a moment that's not likely to be widely celebrated. As proof of that, one simply needs to look at what Twitter users are saying about her win. As of late March 17, Lia Thomas has been trending on Twitter, but its very few people celebrating her. Rather, many are slamming her for her achievement, and instead praised Weyant as the real winner. 

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Lia Thomas looks on during the 2022 Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at Blodgett Pool on February 18, 2022, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

 

Thomas dubbed 'The greatest male swimmer in woman’s history'

"Round of applause for Emma Weyant, the UVA swimmer who placed second in the 500y freestyle tonight, behind Lia Thomas. Second is the new first," one person tweeted. Donald Trump Jr. simply said, "Congrats bro!!!" Conservative organization America Principles said, "This is Emma Weyant from the University of Virginia. She finished in second place to Lia Thomas in the women’s 500 Free at the NCAA national championships. But she’s the true winner to all of us."

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"Congrats to the actual first place winner, Emma Weyant," one person said. Another tweeted, "Just want to say congrats to Emma Weyant for winning this race." Another user slammed, "Remember Emma Weyant from UVA. She finished second. Worked her entire life to win and had the race stolen from her by a man who is mentally ill."

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"Lia Thomas spent 21 years of his life as a man. Said he is now a woman and in less than a year became a national champion in women’s swimming. And as a society, we’re supposed to accept this as totally okay?" one user asked. Another mockingly tweeted, "Lia Thomas… The greatest male swimmer in woman’s history." A third tweeted, "Lia Thomas is a biological dude who steals trophies from biological women…sad & pathetic."

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