2022 NCAA Women’s Championships: Lia Thomas Takes Top Seed in 500 Freestyle

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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2022 NCAA Women’s Championships: Lia Thomas Takes Top Seed in 500 Freestyle

After months of speculation and controversy, Penn swimmer Lia Thomas made her debut at the 2022 NCAA Women’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championships.

Thomas swam in the prelims of the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday morning and took the first seed in 4:33.82.

Thomas is a transgender swimmer that has been the subject of debate in the swimming world and beyond this year, especially leading up to the championships. While Thomas has followed all NCAA rules, many believe the rules are not adequate, giving transgender athletes an unfair advantage.

The NCAA, meet, American and U.S. Open record for the event is 4:24.06 set by Stanford’s Katie Ledecky in 2017. The pool record is 4:30.81 set by Virginia’s Leah Smith in 2016.

There were eight prelims heats in the 500 freestyle. She was in Lane 4 in the eighth heat and when the heat dove in, it was unusually quiet in the aquatic center. She took the early lead in the eighth heat ahead of Stanford’s Brooke Forde, who finished 4:38.19 to take second in the heat.

Day 2 prelims heat sheets

Live Results

In the seventh heat, Erica Sullivan of Texas finished in 4:36.79 to hold off Virginia’s Emma Weyant (4:37.25) and Texas teammate Evie Pfeifer (4:37.39) in an extremely close heat.

It will be a start-studded final as Sullivan took the second seed overall, ahead of Weyant, Wisconsin’s Paige McKenna, Pfeifer, Forde, Stanford’s Morgan Tankersly and Alabama’s Kensey McMahon, who rounded out the finalists. The 2-3-4 seeds are all freshmen, showing the future of the event looks extremely bright for years to come.

Virginia Tech’s Reka György is the first alternate after finishing 17th during prelims.

Thomas is also slated to swim the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle later in the NCAA Championships at Georgia Tech.

Event 3  Women 500 Yard Freestyle
==================================================================
         NCAA: N 4:24.06  3/16/2017 Katie Ledecky, Stanford
         Meet: M 4:24.06  3/16/2017 Katie Ledecky, Stanford
     American: A 4:24.06  3/16/2017 Katie Ledecky, Stanford
      US Open: O 4:24.06  3/16/2017 Katie Ledecky, Stanford
         Pool: P 4:30.81  3/17/2016 Leah Smith, Virginia
    Name                 Year School               Seed    Prelims        
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Thomas, Lia            5Y Penn                         4:33.82  
    r:+0.74  25.01        52.39 (27.38)
        1:20.06 (27.67)     1:47.88 (27.82)
        2:15.31 (27.43)     2:42.95 (27.64)
        3:10.66 (27.71)     3:38.57 (27.91)
        4:06.36 (27.79)     4:33.82 (27.46)
  2 Sullivan, Erica        FR Texas                        4:36.79  
    r:+0.66  25.35        52.37 (27.02)
        1:19.74 (27.37)     1:47.41 (27.67)
        2:15.49 (28.08)     2:43.61 (28.12)
        3:11.93 (28.32)     3:40.60 (28.67)
        4:08.95 (28.35)     4:36.79 (27.84)
  3 Weyant, Emma           FR Virginia                     4:37.25  
    r:+0.72  25.91        53.30 (27.39)
        1:21.09 (27.79)     1:48.83 (27.74)
        2:16.52 (27.69)     2:44.33 (27.81)
        3:12.60 (28.27)     3:41.02 (28.42)
        4:09.69 (28.67)     4:37.25 (27.56)
  4 McKenna, Paige         FR Wisconsin                    4:37.36  
    r:+0.75  25.61        53.15 (27.54)
        1:21.24 (28.09)     1:49.46 (28.22)
        2:17.70 (28.24)     2:45.89 (28.19)
        3:13.97 (28.08)     3:41.77 (27.80)
        4:09.63 (27.86)     4:37.36 (27.73)
  5 Pfeifer, Evie          5Y Texas                        4:37.39  
    r:+0.77  25.85        53.16 (27.31)
        1:20.90 (27.74)     1:48.85 (27.95)
        2:16.81 (27.96)     2:44.91 (28.10)
        3:13.10 (28.19)     3:41.46 (28.36)
        4:09.85 (28.39)     4:37.39 (27.54)
  6 Forde, Brooke          5Y Stanford                     4:38.19  
    r:+0.68  25.56        53.00 (27.44)
        1:20.81 (27.81)     1:48.72 (27.91)
        2:16.62 (27.90)     2:44.64 (28.02)
        3:12.67 (28.03)     3:41.03 (28.36)
        4:09.94 (28.91)     4:38.19 (28.25)
  7 Tankersley, Morgan     SR Stanford                     4:38.65  
    r:+0.72  26.16        54.01 (27.85)
        1:22.24 (28.23)     1:50.59 (28.35)
        2:18.88 (28.29)     2:47.04 (28.16)
        3:15.22 (28.18)     3:43.01 (27.79)
        4:11.13 (28.12)     4:38.65 (27.52)
  8 McMahon, Kensey        SR Alabama                      4:38.76  
    r:+0.73  25.83        53.34 (27.51)
        1:21.28 (27.94)     1:49.15 (27.87)
        2:17.44 (28.29)     2:45.77 (28.33)
        3:14.38 (28.61)     3:43.00 (28.62)
        4:11.42 (28.42)     4:38.76 (27.34)
 -----------------------------------------------------------------
  9 Mathieu, Tylor         JR Florida                      4:39.07  
    r:+0.72  25.94        54.04 (28.10)
        1:22.38 (28.34)     1:50.63 (28.25)
        2:18.86 (28.23)     2:47.23 (28.37)
        3:15.35 (28.12)     3:43.57 (28.22)
        4:11.55 (27.98)     4:39.07 (27.52)
 10 Mrozinski, Julia       FR Tennessee                    4:39.60  
    r:+0.65  25.25        53.04 (27.79)
        1:21.22 (28.18)     1:49.44 (28.22)
        2:17.82 (28.38)     2:46.04 (28.22)
        3:14.52 (28.48)     3:43.09 (28.57)
        4:12.06 (28.97)     4:39.60 (27.54)
 11 Donohoe, Madelyn       JR Virginia                     4:39.61  
    r:+0.65  25.67        53.45 (27.78)
        1:21.66 (28.21)     1:50.12 (28.46)
        2:18.76 (28.64)     2:46.89 (28.13)
        3:15.20 (28.31)     3:43.63 (28.43)
        4:12.23 (28.60)     4:39.61 (27.38)
 12 Coetzee, Dune          FR Georgia                      4:40.24  
    r:+0.73  25.88        53.97 (28.09)
        1:22.49 (28.52)     1:50.78 (28.29)
        2:19.11 (28.33)     2:47.89 (28.78)
        3:16.16 (28.27)     3:44.71 (28.55)
        4:13.18 (28.47)     4:40.24 (27.06)
 13 McCulloh, Abigail      FR Georgia                      4:40.58  
    r:+0.69  26.45        54.38 (27.93)
        1:22.60 (28.22)     1:50.86 (28.26)
        2:19.22 (28.36)     2:47.57 (28.35)
        3:16.13 (28.56)     3:44.75 (28.62)
        4:13.23 (28.48)     4:40.58 (27.35)
 14 Mull, Lola             SO Northwestern                 4:40.70  
    r:+0.72  26.10        54.08 (27.98)
        1:22.45 (28.37)     1:51.02 (28.57)
        2:19.86 (28.84)     2:48.52 (28.66)
        3:16.68 (28.16)     3:45.29 (28.61)
        4:13.65 (28.36)     4:40.70 (27.05)
 14 Laning, Erica          5Y ASU                          4:40.70  
    r:+0.74  25.90        53.58 (27.68)
        1:21.58 (28.00)     1:50.00 (28.42)
        2:18.28 (28.28)     2:46.67 (28.39)
        3:15.43 (28.76)     3:44.14 (28.71)
        4:12.87 (28.73)     4:40.70 (27.83)
 16 Nordin, Emma           5Y ASU                          4:40.78  
    r:+0.71  26.01        53.66 (27.65)
        1:21.57 (27.91)     1:49.68 (28.11)
        2:17.66 (27.98)     2:46.09 (28.43)
        3:15.03 (28.94)     3:44.02 (28.99)
        4:13.00 (28.98)     4:40.78 (27.78)
9 Comments
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Swimmer
10 months ago

Here before the terfs

avatar
Still Swimming
10 months ago
Reply to  Swimmer

If “TERF” means standing up for women’s swimming and not “men who want to be women” swimming then I’m a proud TERF.

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ultimate swimmer
10 months ago

Who’s surprised…?

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Louise Holden
10 months ago

Watching events from London. So very sad for Women’s Sport!!

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Veritas
10 months ago

I think the rules are that if you qualify the finals, you aren an All-American and that you are Honorable Mention if you qualify for Consolation Finals. In any event, the first two victims of the decision to allow Lia Thomas to swim at NCAAs are Tyler Mathieu, who should be swimming in finals and Reka Gyorky, who should be swimming in consolation finals. Congrats to them, and maybe they’ll get the awards the earned today quicker than the non-DDR women get the medals they won at the 1972 through 1988 games.

avatar
Billy
10 months ago

What a joke this is. A “female” with his male package still attached is allowed to swim at the NCAA Women’s Championships. The NCAA does not have the courage to do the right thing and ban all XY “females” from competing. I’m so disgusted it’s unbelievable and I feel badly for every real female competing. It’s a sad day for women’s athletics, very sad.

avatar
Mom
10 months ago

This article should have been about Erica Sulllivan!

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Mornofaloss
10 months ago

Women sports has died today
Rest In Peace ladies

avatar
Former Swimmer
10 months ago

I grew up competitive swimming and I’m sorry nothing against transgender at all. But, this is total BS!