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Penn’s Lia Thomas picks up victory in 200 free at Ivy League Championships, sets meet record

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Penn transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is an Ivy League champion for the second time this week.

On Friday night, Thomas dominated the 200-yard freestyle competition on her way to setting a meet record and calling herself a conference champion again. She finished in first place with a mark of 1:43.12, setting a record for the meet and at Blodgett Pool at Harvard University.

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Penn’s Lia Thomas dives into the warmup pool at the Ivy League Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Harvard University, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

The previous marks were set by Harvard’s Miki Dahlke. She set the pool record with a 1:45.00 mark in 2018 and at the meet record in 2020 with a 1:47.78 in 2020.

Harvard finished Nos. 2 and 3. Samantha Shelton finished with a 1:45.82, and Molly Hamlin had a 1:47.33.

It’s the second time Thomas called herself a winner in an individual race.

PENN’S LIA THOMAS WINS IVY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP IN 500 FREE

Penn's Lia Thomas waits to swim in a qualifying heat of the 200 yard freestyle at the Ivy League Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at Harvard University, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Cambridge, Mass.

Penn’s Lia Thomas waits to swim in a qualifying heat of the 200 yard freestyle at the Ivy League Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Harvard University, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Cambridge, Mass.
(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

She won the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday night. She got off to a slow start in the event and had to fight off Princeton’s Ellie Marquardt early in the race but was able to pull away by the end. Thomas finished with a 4:37.32 mark.

Thomas’ teammate Catherine Buroker finished in second place with a time of 4:44.83, and Penn’s Anna Sofia Kalandadze finished in fourth place with a time of 4:47.54. 

Thomas finished about seven seconds ahead of Buroker to pick up the victory and set a record in the 500 at Blodgett pool.

Pennsylvania's Lia Thomas, right, is congratulated by Harvard's Samantha Shelton after Thomas set a meet and pool record in the 200-yard freestyle final at Ivy League women's swimming and diving championships Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Cambridge, Mass.

Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas, right, is congratulated by Harvard’s Samantha Shelton after Thomas set a meet and pool record in the 200-yard freestyle final at Ivy League women’s swimming and diving championships Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, in Cambridge, Mass.
(AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Thomas has been drawn into the national spotlight in the debate over whether transgender female athletes should be able to compete against biological females in sporting events. She received the all-clear to compete in the conference championships in the days leading up to it.

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She still has a few more events on Saturday night.

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