Lia Thomas Booed After Trangender Swimmer Beats Emma Weyant, Video Shows

University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas received some hostility from the crowd after she became the first transgender NCAA champion in Division I history by winning the women's 500-yard freestyle.

Thomas finished first in the race in Atlanta on Thursday, with her time of 4:33.24 being the fastest of the NCAA season so far.

Thomas, who previously swam for the men's team at Pennsylvania, finished ahead of second-placed Emma Weyant of the University of Virginia, who won silver in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Erica Sullivan, a silver medalist in the 1,500 meter freestyle event in Tokyo, finished third.

As noted by Swim Swan, one person shouted "He's a man," after Thomas won the race, with a small chant of "Protect girls' sports" also breaking out from others watching in the crowd.

Video taken at the arena at the Georgia Institute of Technology showed the crowd cheering and clapping enthusiastically for Weyant when she was on the podium and announced as the runner-up.

There was a more muted response from the crowd when Thomas was presented as the winner, with some booing also heard.

Thomas was also booed by some members of the crowd after giving an interview to ESPN following her victory.

During the interview, Thomas said that she tries to "ignore" the divisive debate about whether she or other transgender athletes should be able to compete in competitive sports.

"I try to focus on my swimming, what I need to do to get ready for my races. And just try to block out everything else," Thomas said.

The NCAA announced in January as part of a "sport-by-sport" approach to transgender participation that transgender athletes must undergo mandatory testosterone testing at the beginning of their season, and again six months later.

The move was partly in response to Thomas' record-breaking season which has been met with scrutiny from conservative media and public figures.

Ahead of the NCAA event in Atlanta, students, athletes and members of the Concerned Women for America group staged a protest against Thomas' participation.

GOP Illinois congresswoman Mary Miller also tweeted that she "will never be afraid to speak out in defense of our daughters, even if I am the only one" while sharing an article by the right-wing website The Post Millennial about parents' concerns about speaking out against Thomas competing against their daughters.

"Our girls deserve better, and they have been abandoned by adults who are afraid of being criticized by radical leftists. Ignore them and their 'power' disappears." Miller wrote.

On Thursday, the Concerned Women for America group said it had filed a civil rights complaint against the University of Pennsylvania, alleging that they are not protecting the rights of female athletes under Title IX by allowing Thomas to compete.

"The future of women's sports is at risk and the equal rights of female athletes are being infringed," Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, said in a statement.

"We filed a formal civil rights complaint against UPenn in response to this injustice."

Schuyler Bailar, who became the first known transgender man to compete on a Division I men's team while racing with Harvard, praised Thomas for continuing to swim amid the uproar.

"It's a symbol of Lia's resilience," Bailar told ESPN. "The fact that she's able to show up here, despite protesters outside, people shouting and booing her, I think it's a testament to her resiliency.

"And it's also a symbol that we can both be who we are and do what we love."

The University of Pennsylvania has been contacted for comment.

Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas
Transgender woman Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania wins the 500-yard freestyle at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championshipon March 17, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Justin Casterline/Getty Images