Lia Thomas Sets Pool Record, is Ivy League Champion in the 500 Freestyle
This should go over well:
Lia Thomas is the @IvyLeague champion in the 500 free. Her time of 4:37.32 is a new pool record.
— Penn Swimming & Diving (@PennSwimDive) February 17, 2022
Penn swimmer Lia Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle race at the Ivy League championships Thursday night, accelerating past her competitors to establish a new record for Harvard University’s Blodgett Pool.
The natatorium boomed with cheering athletes and fans as Thomas swam neck and neck with her competitors for the first part of the race. Around the halfway mark, Thomas took a significant lead and finished in 4 minutes, 37.32 seconds, about three seconds off her personal best, and edging the pool record by three-tenths of a second.
In second place was Penn sophomore Catherine Buroker, who posted a time of 4:44.83, a seasonal best. Princeton sophomore Ellie Marquardt — the defending Ivy League champion in the event — placed third in 4:46.63, and Penn junior Anna Sofia Kalandadze came in fourth in 4:47.54.
If you go back and look at the replies to that tweet, they are an absolute tangle. 5,000 replies and 2,000 quote tweets, a large portion congratulating Buroker instead.
The Thomas saga has dragged for months now, and you know the back story. She used to compete for Penn’s men’s team, then transitioned and was deemed eligible to swim for the women’s team after meeting the NCAA criteria for testosterone suppression.
As the controversy blew up and went international, the NCAA changed their rules, instead punting guidelines for participation to individual sports’ national governing bodies. USA Swimming then updated their guidelines, which did not affect Thomas, because she is considered an amateur and not an “elite” athlete per the organization’s definition.
So anyway, here we are now. Thomas broke another pool record, and the saga continues.