Penn Quakers swim team members show support for transgender athlete Lia Thomas

Members of the University of Pennsylvania women's swimming and diving team released a statement Tuesday in support of transgender teammate Lia Thomas.

"We want to express our full support for Lia in her transition," the athletes said. "We value her as a person, teammate, and friend. The sentiments put forward by an anonymous member of our team are not representative of the feelings, values, and opinions of the entire Penn team, composed of 39 women with diverse backgrounds."

The statement was not signed, but a Penn spokesperson said it represented "several" members of the team.

Since Thomas' record-setting performance at the Zippy Invitational in December, multiple outlets have published anonymous critical comments attributed to members of the Penn swimming and diving community, including swimmers and parents. Outside of Tuesday's statement, no members of the swimming team or the coaching staff have made official comments to the media.

Said the athletes in the statement, "We recognize this is a matter of great controversy and are doing our best to navigate it while still focusing on doing our best in the pool and classroom."

Thomas holds some of the nation's best times in the 200-yard, 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle events. Her continued success in the pool this season has drawn criticism from former Olympic swimmers Donna de Varona and Nancy Hogshead-Makar.

Thomas has received support from LGBTQ+ inclusion advocates, the University of Pennsylvania and the Ivy League.

Stanford swimmer and Tokyo Olympian Brooke Forde also released a statement last week in support of Thomas. "I believe that treating people with respect and dignity is more important than any trophy or record will ever be, which is why I will not have a problem racing against Lia at NCAAs this year," she said.

Penn is next scheduled to compete Feb. 16-19 at the Ivy League Championships at Harvard. Thomas has qualified for the NCAA championships, which are scheduled for March 16-19 in Atlanta.