USA Swimming official sacrifices career to save sport from 'Lia'

USA Swimming official sacrifices career to save sport from 'Lia'

A longtime swim official with USA Swimming has stepped down to protest the organization for allowing University of Pennsylvania swimmer Will Thomas (center) to remain on the women's team where he is smashing national records. 

USA Swimming official sacrifices career to save sport from 'Lia'

The effort to defend biological women and preserve female-only competitions remains an uphill battle but a prominent swimming official has sacrificed her own career to plead with others to speak up, too.

USA Swimming official Cynthia Millen has resigned from that national organization after it refused to take action against “Lia” Thomas, a muscled 6 ft.-plus male swimmer who is setting collegiate women’s swim records that will never be broken.

Thomas, whose real name is Will, competed for the University of Pennsylvania men’s team for three years before swimming with young women.

USA Swimming is the governing board for the sport, where Millen worked for 30 years before quitting in protest after Thomas has swim meet records late last year that are being allowed to stand. In a December competition, Thomas beat his own female teammate by 38 seconds and crushed a national 500-meter record, held by Princeton, in a swim meet against that Ivy League rival.

“I told my fellow officials that I can no longer participate in a sport which allows biological men to compete against women,” Millen told Fox News. “Everything fair about swimming is being destroyed.”

The controversy over transgender athletes now dates back several years after biological males have been allowed on softball fields and in track meets, and even on a top-tier Olympic weightlifting team (pictured above) and in the prestigious Boston Marathon.

To even call it a “controversial” issue, however, is to risk backlash from ferocious LGBT activists and from cowering school officials and sports officials. Tennis champion Martina Navratilova generated a fierce backlash in 2019 after she accused trans athletes of “cheating” biological females. The tennis legend, a lesbian and a gay rights pioneer, was called “transphobic” for sharing her views.

“I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers,” Navratilova said, “but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.”

It doesn’t help either that the national media, such as this ABC News story and this Time story, often describe the male-to-female athlete as a true-to-self hero who is facing unfair backlash from hate-filled critics.  

On the women’s swim team at UPenn, some female swimmers have criticized Thomas but did so anonymously for fear of backlash.

“Pretty much everyone individually has spoken to our coaches about not liking this,” a female swimmer told sports website Outkick. “I think secretly everyone just knows it’s the wrong thing to do.”

Nobody is speaking out publicly, the female swimmer said, because they know they will be punished for doing so and “miss out on all that we’ve been working for.”

Steve McConkey, a former track star who leads 4 Winds Christian Athletics, has warned about the transgender push for years. Millen, he says, deserves credit for speaking out.

"People don't realize how brave this is because she's bucking the system,” he says. “And this is what needs to happen. She's speaking for hundreds and hundreds of coaches."