Iszac Henig 5th and Lia Thomas 8th in 100 free championship final
The first championship final in NCAA history that involved two transgender student-athletes was caught in the wake of Virginia freshman Gretchen Walsh in the 100-yard freestyle championship final.
Walsh put up the 4th fastest 100-yard freestyle in collegiate history to get her first NCAA title in 46.05 seconds. Henig finished in a tie for fifth with Louisville’s Gabi Albeiro at 47.32, a season and career best for Henig at the distance. Thomas ended up last at 48.18.
For Henig the finish makes him a first-team All-American, it also gives him the lead in head-to-head wins over Thomas in finals at 2-1. Henig and Thomas first met in this event at a dual meet between their schools in January with Henig winning. Thomas outswam him to win the 100-free title at the Ivy League Championships in February at Harvard.
For Thomas, a collegiate career ends with a national championship and as a three-time All-American. Those marks equal Franklin Pierce’s CeCé Telfer as the most decorated NCAA transgender student-athletes since the inclusion policy was first instituted in 2011.
Lia Thomas and Iszac Henig both make 100-free final at NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships
Lia Thomas and Iszac Henig will both swim in the 100-free final at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships tonight. Neither swimmer was seeded to make the final coming into the prelims, with Thomas 10th and Henig 17th.
In their respective heats, Thomas reportedly put up a time of 47.37 seconds, fourth-fastest of the prelims. As ESPN’s Katie Barnes pointed out, that is Thomas’ fastest time of the season. The finish makes Thomas now a three-time All-American.
Henig was the final swimmer to make the final, finishing eighth with a time of 47.55. Henig, a trans man, also swam in the consolation final of the 50-free.
The 100-free final will be the first ever with two out trans athletes. It will also be the rare final with athletes from the Ivy League. In winning the 500-free on Thursday, Thomas became the first out trans athlete and only second Ivy League swimmer to win an NCAA D1 title.
The race will be the final NCAA competition of the season for both athletes. It will be the final competition of Thomas’ college career. Henig has another year of eligibility, but given current regulations he would need to continue to choose swimming over hormone therapy.
Thomas ends up 5th in 200 free final as Stanford’s Taylor Ruck finally nabs a national title
University of Pennsylvania senior Lia Thomas’ quest for a second national title in two days ran into Stanford’s Taylor Ruck, who has had multi second-place finishes at NCAAs, as she raced to her first national crown in 1:41.12.
Thomas faltered under a blistering pace set by Ruck and Cal’s Isabel Ivey, who finished second. Thomas ended up finishing tied for fifth with Kentucky’s Riley Gaines at 1:43.50
Despite the loss, Thomas becomes the first trans student-athlete to become a multi-time first-team All-American in Division I. A berth in the championship final in 100-yard freestyle Saturday would tie her with Franklin Pierce’s CeCé Telfer for the most first-team All-American selections earned by a transgender student-athlete since the NCAA inclusion policy was instituted in 2011. Telfer was a three-time All-American selection in indoor and outdoor track and field in 2019, and won a national championship in the 400-meter hurdles that year.
Lia Thomas 2nd in 200-free prelims, now two-time All-American
Lia Thomas finished second in the preliminary heats of the 200-free at the NCAA Women’s Swimming National Championships. Her time of 1:42.09 was just 0.20 seconds behind Taylor Ruck of Stanford. They will go head-to-head tonight in the final.
With her performance, Thomas earned a second All-American honor.
Lia Thomas wins national title in 500-free, Iszac Henig finishes last in consolation final
Lia Thomas won the 500-free at the NCAA Women’s Swimming National Championships, besting her previous best that topped the event in the country this season, though falling short of NCAA or pool records. Thomas will also compete in the 200-free and 100-free races.
Iszac Henig finished 16th overall in the women’s 50-free race, earning All-American Honorable Mention. He still has the 100-free race ahead of him.
Iszac Henig into 50-free consolation final, earns All-American honors
Iszac Henig finished 15th overall in the 50-free prelims at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships, earning himself a spot in the consolation final. With his performance, he’s also earned Honorable Mention All-American honors.
Henig is a trans man who opted to continue competing in women’s swimming, delaying any use of gender-affirming hormones. He is the sole competitor for Yale at these championships.
Lia Thomas wins prelims, sets new nation’s fastest time
Lia Thomas won the prelims of the 500-yard freestyle race at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships by three seconds, affirming her status as the No. 1 seed headed into tonight’s final.
Thomas’ time of 4:33.82 wasn’t near an NCAA record, but it was good enough to top three Olympic medalists: Erica Sullivan (2nd), Emma Weyant (3rd) and Brooke Forde (6th).
The Penn swimmer, who is a trans woman, already had the fastest time in the nation in the event; This time, her new best this season, is about a quarter of a second faster than her previous Ivy League record time.
While the margin of her win in the prelims was sizable — larger than the distance between the rest of the final field — this was a preliminary race, not a final. With three Olympians and other All-Americans in the final, it will be a different race. Will Thomas be able to come out on top? We’ll find out tonight around 6pmET.
With her spot in the final, Thomas will earn All-American honors for the first time in her career.