It's Happened: A Trans Athlete Goes the Other Way, Beats a One-Armed Man

Gerry Broome

For any who’ve challenged transgenderism in sports by pointing out that no biological female has migrated to the men’s league, there’s now news of that very thing.


Back in February, ESPN published the article “University of Pennsylvania Swimmer Lia Thomas Makes Her Ivy League Championships Debut in 800-Yard Freestyle Relay.” In it, the outlet observed Lia’s largesse from the Lord:

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas made her Ivy League championships debut on Wednesday night, leading off for the Quakers in the 800-yard freestyle relay. … Thomas enters the Ivy League championships as the top seed in the 200-yard, 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle events. She posted some of the best times in the country in all three events at the Zippy Invitational in Akron, Ohio, in December.

Collegial support was substantial:

On Feb. 10, more than 300 members of the swimming community — including representatives of each of the Power 5 conferences, five of Thomas’ current teammates and Tokyo silver medalist Erica Sullivan — signed an open letter published by Athlete Ally supporting Thomas.

Meanwhile, some critics claimed there was a peculiarity at play: In the world of transgender sports, you never hear of an alternatively-identifying biological female switching teams.

But just in time for the new year comes Iszac Henig, a Yale senior who competed in the men’s division in November.


Iszac was once quite the competitor among women. From that same ESPN story:

Thomas finished her leg in first place, 0.15 seconds ahead of Yale’s Iszac Henig…

Now the fallopian-tubed freestyler is swimming with athletes who produce their own reproductive swimmers, and one might say it’s a different ball game.

As noted by the New York Post, “As a high-schooler, Henig…competed in the 2016 Olympic trials and was one of the top 100 female swimmers in the country two years later.”

Iszac — who had a double mastectomy in 2021 — finished last year as an all-American womanly water warrior. Fast-forward past eight months of hormones, and the revised racer contended in November in the men’s division — perhaps topless for the first time at a meet.

On Thursday, The New York Times ran an opinion piece by Iszac, who acknowledged a diminished relative performance:

Right before Thanksgiving, we finished a meet against Ohio State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and others. I wasn’t the slowest guy in any of my events, but I’m not as successful in the sport as I was on the women’s team.

Not as successful, indeed. Per The Post:

[D]uring [the] meet in November among 83 swimmers, [Iszac] finished in 79th place.


Slots 80-83 in the 50-yard freestyle, as outlined by Outkick:

  • Two Ohio State swimmers that specialize in the breaststroke
  • A University of Cincinnati swimmer who specializes in the breaststroke and doesn’t even have a 50-free best time listed on his school bio
  • 79th place finisher Ilija Tadic, a Serbian who was born without a left forearm and has competed in the Paralympic Games

According to NYP, things also didn’t go so great days earlier:

Several days prior, in a meet against Columbia, Henig finished in 10th out of 11 in the 200-yard freestyle and 11th out of 12 in the 100-yard free. His 400-yard freestyle relay finished in last place out of five teams, and his swim time was the slowest of all swimmers in that race.

“However,” The Post reports, “Henig’s goal isn’t necessarily to win as a man.”

The erstwhile aquatic ace explained via The Times:

I’d rather be myself than win. … I’m trying to connect with my teammates in new ways, to cheer loudly, to focus more on the excitement of the sport. Competing and being challenged is the best part. It’s a different kind of fulfillment. And it’s pretty great to feel comfortable in the locker room every day.

Not that Iszac has a problem with biological males beating females:


I believe that when trans athletes win, we deserve to be celebrated just as cis athletes are. We are not cheating by pursuing our true selves — we have not forsaken our legitimacy. Elite sports are always a combination of natural advantage or talent and commitment to hard work. There is so much more to a great athlete than hormones or height. I swim faster than some cis men ever will.

Even so, will many follow in Iszac’s footsteps? It wouldn’t seem likely. Most athletes surely get into the game to win.

Presumably, they’d much rather be like Lia Thomas — who trounced a bunch of biological females at the breaststroke.



See more content from me:

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Yale Avenges Slaves, Reverses Racism — by Paying for Black Students to Leave the State

Find all my RedState work here.

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