The Ivy League swimmer was nominated as a Division I athlete in both swimming and diving. NCAA website.
The award is intended to recognize “academic achievement, achievement in athletics, community service, and graduate college-athlete leadership from all three divisions.” Web site.
In March, Thomas became the first transgender athlete
win the NCAA Division I title by finishing first in the women’s 500 yard freestyle and recording the fastest time of the NCAA season. With this win, she became the first transgender athlete to win a DI title in any sport.
Thomas, who previously swam for Penn’s men’s team, brought renewed attention to the debate about trans women’s participation in sports and the balance between inclusion and fair play. for a time
when states across the US pass laws
to restrict the rights of transgender people.
She first caught the public eye with a stunning performance at the Zippy Invitational in Ohio in December, when she set NCAA season-leading results in the 200 and 500 yard freestyle races. And she won 100 yards
Run the 200 and 500 yard freestyle runs at the Women’s Ivy League Championship in February.
AT May ABC interview
The swimmer spoke of feeling depressed early in college, before her transition. She began hormone replacement therapy in 2019 and, following NCAA protocols, took a year off from swimming before joining the UPenn women’s team in 2020.
“I knew I would be closely watched if I competed as a woman. I was ready for this,” she said in an interview. “But I also don’t need anyone’s permission to be myself and play the sport I love.”
Thomas said “there are a lot of factors influencing the race” but the biggest difference right now is that she’s happy, adding that trans women “do not pose a threat to women’s sport”.
The Women of the Year selection committee will select 30 winners, from which nine finalists will be announced – three from each division of the NCAA, according to the organization’s website. The NCAA Women’s Athletics Committee will then consider these finalists before deciding on the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year, the website said.
Woman of the Year will be named at the NCAA convention.
Eric Levenson of CNN and Steve Almasi contributed to this report.