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A Virginia Tech student has broken her silence and spoken out against Lia Thomas after her teammate lost her place in the NCAA Championships to the transgender swimmer.
Thomas, believed to be 22, defeated Virginia freshman Emma Weyant by 1.75 seconds on Thursday night in the 500-yard freestyle.
The University of Pennsylvania student, who posted a program-record time, is now the first openly transgender athlete to become Division I national champion in any sport.
Speaking ahead of the NCAA Championships in Atlanta, a Virginia Tech student insisted that it was “heartbreaking” to see her swim teammate miss out on the competition due to Thomas.
The unnamed swimmer, who was competing at the NCAA Championships, revealed her teammate narrowly missed out on qualifying for Thursday's final.
Her unnamed teammate finished 17th in the heat, with only the top 16 securing a place to compete at the NCAA Championships.
“I have a teammate who did not make finals today because she was just bumped out of finals -- and it’s heartbreaking to see someone who went through puberty as a male and has the body of a male be able to absolutely blow away the competition,” the Virginia Tech swimmer told the Rapid Fire podcast.
“She was very emotional and it’s hard to see since it’s her last NCAAs and she really loves that race.
Virginia Tech swimmer competing in this year’s NCAA championship details how her teammate was brought to tears after her place in the finals was taken by Lia Thomas: pic.twitter.com/mow56mVp1W— Sav (@RapidFire_Pod) March 17, 2022
“And it was just heartbreaking to see that she put all their effort into it today, and with the best time that she’s went in the morning session before, and still not make it back.
“It’s hard to see someone who works every day, every night, still not be able to compete against someone like that.”
Thomas, who has sparked controversy over her participation in women’s sports, set a season-best time with her win at the NCAA Championships.
The UPenn swimmer fell short of breaking Katie Ledecky’s record time of 4:24.06, with Thomas posting a time of 4:33.24.
The Virginia Tech student who spoke out against Thomas claimed that it was difficult to stay positive about competing “against someone with the aerobic capacity” and “muscle development” like the trans swimmer.
“Then you go into it with a mindset that you are you don’t have a chance, if that makes sense,” she explained.
“Like, it’s hard to compete against someone with the aerobic capacity, the muscle development, the body of a man -- it’s hard.
“It’s hard to think about it like that -- and staying positive, I bet, for other swimmers in that heat is overwhelming. Although I can’t speak for them.”
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