Star Kentucky Swimmer: Nomination of Lia Thomas for NCAA Woman of the Year Is ‘Yet Another Slap in the Face to Women’

Fomer Kentucky swim star Riley Gaines and tennis legend Martina Navratilova both sounded off Saturday on the University of Pennsylvania’s decision to nominate trans swimmer Lia Thomas for the “NCAA Woman of the Year” prize. RedState’s Becca Lower brought you the story of the nomination last Friday. Radio host and Outkick co-founder Clay Travis summed up his thoughts in a tweet:


Notice someone else in that photo? That’s Riley Gaines, who was also nominated for the award by the University of Kentucky, and who won three individual conference titles in the SEC, broke two SEC records, had 12 All-America awards and graduated with summa cum laude honors — but lost to Thomas in the 200-yard freestyle at the NCAA championships earlier this year. Because, fairness or something.

She responded:

Gaines wrote:

[T]his is yet another slap in the face to women. First a female national title and now nominated for the pinnacle award in collegiate athletics. The NCAA has made this award worthless.

She didn’t stop there, though, blasting the decision:

This award combines athletic performance with academics, service, and character. What character has Thomas shown other than sheer selfishness and entitlement? The disrespect and disregard for the other female athletes in Thomas’ interviews is eye opening.


Lia Thomas, if you missed it, is transgender, and competed on the UPenn men’s team for three years before undergoing hormone therapy and switching to the women’s team for a senior year. Not surprisingly, the 6′ 1″ swimmer went on to smash numerous records and won an NCCA title in the 500-yard freestyle final. Thomas famously claimed on Good Morning America that, “I also don’t need anybody’s permission to be myself and do the sport I love.”

Everyone else be damned. “Trans women are not a threat to women’s sports,” she said—a quote displaying seemingly zero awareness of the effects of male physiology on women’s competition.

Riley Gaines wasn’t the only person to be outraged by the nomination, however. Women’s tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who has won the most major titles in women’s tennis since 1968, isn’t hiding her feelings:

“Not enough fabulous biological women athletes, NCAA?!? What is wrong with you?!!!!!!!?” she tweeted.

More voices chimed in: Former NCAA champion swimmer Marshi Smith wrote: “How many women’s awards are we willing to surrender? The Ivy League choosing a male as their nominee is doubling down on their anti-woman campaign.”

I remember 56 years ago discussing current events with a liberal relative. “You see where this is going, don’t you?” I asked him. “Trans males will start competing in women’s sports, and they will dominate.”


“You’re just being a conservative reactionary,” he responded. “That will never happen.”

Well, it is happening, and swimming is only one of the sports where we’re seeing the phenomenon. Track and field has seen biologically male athletes dominate biological females, with devastating results. We have yet to see biological males enter the world of college basketball, but when they inevitably do if this trend continues, expect them to absolutely slay the competition.

I love my wife, and I love my daughters, and I love seeing them compete in athletics. But they were not meant to fight against men. Remember: the FC Dallas under-15 boys squad easily defeated the U.S. Women’s National Team in a scrimmage. The U.S. Women’s National Team. This isn’t anti-women, it’s pro-reality.

This has gone too far. I’m all for people living as who they are, and being what they want to be. But men should not compete against women, and Lia Thomas should man up, renounce this award and let it be given to the accomplished biologically female athlete who earned it.


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