NCAA Woman of the Year: Brooke Forde, Emma Nordin Lead Swimming Finalists; Ivy League Does Not Nominate Lia Thomas

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

NCAA Woman of the Year: Brooke Forde, Emma Nordin Lead Swimming Finalists; Ivy League Does Not Nominate Lia Thomas

The path for Penn swimmer Lia Thomas to become the NCAA Woman of the Year has ended. Thomas, a transgender swimmer who was nominated by Penn to be the Quakers’ Woman of the Year, was not selected by the Ivy League as conferences narrowed down the finalists from each school.

The Ivy League nomination went to Columbia University fencer Sylvie Binder.

Athletes from 151 conferences are still in play for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.

The Pac-12 nominated Stanford swimmer Brooke Forde and Arizona State’s Emma Nordin.

Thomas won the 500-yard freestyle NCAA title in March after a season filled with controversy. Thomas was a member of the Penn men’s swim team for three years before going through hormonal therapy to transition to female as she identifies with. Thomas followed NCAA rules and was allowed to compete despite objections from many on the fairness of the playing field in the situation, creating one of the biggest debates in the history of swimming.

Forde, a 2020 Olympian, led Stanford to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships as well as a Pac-12 team title. Individually, she was a member of Stanford’s NCAA championship 800 free relay team and first-team All-America honors in the 200 breast, 400 IM and the 500 free. Forde completed her degree in human biology and her master’s in epidemiology and will be joining the Peace Corps.

Nordin became a Pac-12 Champion in the 500 free (2020) and was an NCAA qualifier while capturing Arizona State school records in the 200 free, 500 free, 1000 free and 1650 free events. She is a two-time CSCAA Scholar All-American. She is currently studying for her graduate degree in Biology after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Biological Sciences (Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior) in May 2021.

There were several other swimmers selected as finalists by their conferences, including Davidson’s Sienna Senn in the Atlantic 10, Cal-San Diego’s Ciara Franke in the Big West, Illinois Wesleyan’s Ellen Gilbert in the CCIW, Saginaw Valley State’s Elizabeth Caird in the GLIAC, Oakland’s Susan LaGrand and Illinois-Chicago’s Cydney Liebenberg in the Horizon League, St. Catherine’s Macy Klein in the MIAC, College of New Jersey’s Zoe Chan in the NJAC, Kenyon’s Emmerson Ann Mirus in the NCAC, Navy’s Sydney Harrington of the Patriot League, Sarah Lawrence’s Drew Lei-Alerta in the Skyline Conference, FIT’s Savannah Brennan and Florida Southern’s Grace Sill in the Sunshine State Conference and Emory’s Clio Hancock in the UAA.

Siena College’s Georgia Vargas is a water polo player in the Metro Atlantic Conference.