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Biological male swimmer “Lia Thomas” won the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships. Thomas is the first “known” transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I championship in any sport, ESPN said.

Thomas pulled away over the last 150 meters while second-place was decided by a less than a second. Emma Weyant was the first biological female to finish the race, but it was only good for second.

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Thomas told ESPN he was just happy to be there and didn’t have many expectations. He said he tries to focus the “spotlight” as much as he can and instead just focus on his swimming, his preparation and blocking everything else out.

“It means the world to be here,” he said. “Be with two of my best friends and teammates, and be able to compete.”

According to Swimming World Magazine, Thomas declined to participate in a required press conference for winners of the meet. An NCAA spokesperson said the situation would be reviewed after the championships.

Swimming World Magazine also reports that Weyant received a “thunderous cheer” on the podium as runner-up while Thomas received a scattering of cheers. When Thomas was announced before the race, the pool deck was “eerily quiet” with “a few cheers” scattered around the natatorium, Swimming World Magazine reports.

Author: Jacob Hall

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