Penn will work with NCAA to support transgender athlete Lia Thomas' participation at swimming and diving championships

January 20, 2022, 2:19 PM

Penn Athletics said in a statement on Thursday that it would work with the NCAA in support of swimmer Lia Thomas regarding her participation at the 2022 NCAA swimming and diving championships in Atlanta in March.

Thomas, a transgender woman, has posted some of the nation's best times in the women's 200-yard, 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle events. She has qualified for the NCAA swimming and diving championships in all three individual events.

"Penn Athletics is aware of the NCAA's new transgender participation policy," the statement said. "In support of our student-athlete, Lia Thomas, we will work with the NCAA regarding her participation under the newly adopted standards for the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship."

On Wednesday, the NCAA released a new policy in which eligibility requirements for transgender athletes will be determined by each sport's national governing body. The requirements go into effect immediately and replace the previous policy, adopted in 2010, that was a uniform hormone therapy requirement across all sports.

USA Swimming's policy, adopted in 2018, uses a review panel to make individual determinations on eligibility. Elite athletes are subject to FINA and IOC regulations, which are currently in flux thanks to a November 2021 update to the IOC's policy, which defers to individual policies of international federations. It is unknown which athletes -- Olympians, collegians or both -- are considered to be elite under USA Swimming's current policy.

Thomas and Penn are next scheduled to compete Saturday at Harvard (11 a.m. ET, ESPN+).