‘Joke with biological women as a punchline’: Swimming magazine editor calls Lia Thomas’ NCAA title for what it is
The world saw Lia Thomas, the former University of Pennsylvania swimmer who now identifies as female, win an NCAA swimming title on Thursday. The ongoing Thomas saga has been a fight between trans-activists and their cronies on one side and protectors of women’s sports, rights and advancement on the other.
One of the leading voices of advocacy for female swimmers has been John Lohn, editor of Swimming World. In an article for the magazine Thursday night, Lohn — a recorded critic of how Thomas has perverted and damaged NCAA women’s swimming — called Thomas’ victory in the women’s 500-meter freestyle nothing less than a joke”.
But this joke, which had women as a “press point”, was “no laughing matter”.
“A joke was told in Atlanta on Thursday night,” Lohn began. “It wasn’t funny.”
Noting Thomas’ victory, Lohn continued, “Most of the time a national championship should be celebrated, the athlete praised for their hard work, dedication and discipline.”
“Not this time,” he added.
Instead of celebrating the trans athlete’s success in beating the competition over which he had a clear male biological advantage, Lohn said Thomas’ victory “should be greeted with nothing less than a nod, a roll eyes or a shrug of the shoulders.”
“Why?” he asked rhetorically. “Because Lia Thomas’ victory is an insult to the biological women who raced against her. Against those who fought for Title IX and equal opportunity for female athletes. Against science and the undeniable physiological differences between the male and female sexes.”
Lohn’s criticism wasn’t just about Thomas’ decision to swim against girls after years of a lackluster “ho-hum” career swimming against boys.
He also criticized the NCAA and what he previously called its “outdated” guidelines:
Because the NCAA only required one year of hormone therapy for a transgender woman to compete in women’s sports, Thomas was eligible to run for the Quakers. And, to be clear, Thomas followed all the rules. The problem is that the NCAA guidelines were based on outdated science and did not take into account the benefits of Thomas undergoing male puberty and high testosterone production. A 6-3 frame. Greater natural strength. Larger hands and feet. Increased lung capacity. None of these edges, for the record, can be fully mitigated.
“A transgender woman competing with biological women is not a fair fight,” Lohn continued.
The NCAA’s refusal to follow USA Swimming rules meant that Thomas’ victory “was anything but honest”.
And it was clear to Lohn that the NCAA, Ivy League, and UPenn were far more concerned with one person’s preferences than 50% of people’s rights:
Thomas’ story became the most debated topic in the sport, and a fractured environment emerged at Penn, as team members’ loyalties were divided. Some supported Thomas and his desire to live his authentic life. Others saw the issue from another angle, noting that injustice was the dominant theme. When the Ivy League and Penn told swimmers to accept the situation, it was clear that one person’s rights were valued over hundreds of others. And when the NCAA made it clear that it wouldn’t protect women’s rights, it was obvious that the NCAA Championships would turn into a circus – a combination of protesters appearing and Thomas swimming around with his male puberty-supplied jet pack.
Naturally, the trans world sued Lohn and Swimming World for their interpretation of Thomas’ imbroglio, calling them transphobic.
Lohn was not surprised.
“This strategy appears to be the go-to tactic, thanks to its biting nature,” he wrote. “But this debate – again for clarity – is about fairness, and everyone on the blocks has an equal chance before the race. With Thomas, that was never the case.”
The NCAA, Lohn said, should not only put an asterisk next to Thomas’ victory, but should also be “remembered for turning its back on biological women and producing a competitive environment that was anything but legitimate.”
“[T]he NCAA-boosted Lia Thomas situation has long been a joke — but no laughing matter,” Lohn concluded.