The Yale transgender swimmer who stole the spotlight from Ivy League rival Lia Thomas at Saturday’s meet held off completing his transition from female to male in order to finish his college career on the women’s team.
Iszac Henig, a 20-year-old California native, competed in three events at the meet between Yale, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, winning all three – including two head-to-head showdowns with Thomas.
Thomas had competed on the UPenn men’s team for three years before transitioning and joining the women’s team this year, sparking controversy after she shattered longstanding records.
Henig has been a member of Yale’s women’s team for three years and decided to delay taking hormones for his transition, making him eligible to remain on the squad. He came out to coaches and teammates in April 2021.
‘As a student athlete, coming out as a trans guy put me in a weird position. I could start hormones to align more with myself, or wait, transition socially, and keep competing on a women’s swim team. I decided on the latter,’ he wrote in an opinion piece published in the New York Times in July.
‘I value my contributions to the team and recognize that my boyhood doesn’t hinge on whether there’s more or less testosterone running through my veins. At least, that’s what I’ll try to remember when I put on the women’s swimsuit for the competition and am reminded of a self I no longer feel attached to.’
In the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay, Iszac Henig again crushed Thomas and his other competitors, completing his leg in 50.45 seconds, giving Yale the number one spot in the competition on the strength of his leg of the race
Iszac Henig still competes on the Ivy League school’s women’s team after coming out to coaches and teammates in April 2021, and told the New York Times in July that he was not taking hormones because he still wanted to compete
Trangender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas was crushed in the 100-meter freestyle, finishing fifth – after being beaten by another transgender swimmer, Iszac Henig (left) who is transitioning from female to male. On Saturday, Henig also finished first in the earlier 50-yard freestyle, smashing records. After the race, the 20-year-old, who has had his breasts removed, pulled down the top of his swimsuit
Earlier, at the meet where UPenn competed against Dartmouth and Yale, Thomas won the first of four races by just two seconds – one month after she shattered two women’s records with a 38-second margin against her closest competitor. She also narrowly won the 500-yard freestyle by just a second, with bystanders telling DailyMail.com that she seemed to be ‘coasting’ and ‘barely trying’
Henig, who is transitioning from female to male, also finished first in the earlier 50-yard freestyle, smashing records. After the race, the 20-year-old, who has had his breasts removed, pulled down the top of his swimsuit. Parents at the swim meet said they were stunned as Henig won the women’s race
Lia Thomas, pictured in lane two (far right), came fifth in the 100 yard freestyle, while Iszac Henig, pictured in lane four (center), won the race
Stunned parents gasped as Yale swimmer, Iszac Henig, easily beat out his opponents in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, with a time of 49.57 seconds. Thomas, who finished fifth, finished with a time of 52.84 seconds.
Henig did have his breasts removed and revealed his chest after pulling down the top of his swimsuit following one of his victories – stunning already shell-shocked UPenn parents attending their kids’ final home meet of what has been a tumultuous season.
‘I wasn’t prepared for that. Everything is messed up. I can’t wrap my head around this. The NCAA needs to do something about this. They need to put science into the decision and discussion,’ a UPenn parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, told DailyMail.com.
Another parent said: ‘A man just crushed the women’s team.’
Henig defeated Thomas in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of 49.57, more than three seconds ahead of Thomas, who finished sixth with a time of 52.84.
He then powered Yale’s 400-yard freestyle relay to victory, swimming his leg in 50.45 seconds, while Thomas finished his leg in 51.94.
Henig also won the 50-yard freestyle in 22.76 second, barely missing breaking his personal best for the event of 22.59.
The two could meet again at the Ivy League championships next month, though the pandemic canceled the 2020-21 season.
Facebook profile photo of transgender Yale swimmer Iszac Henig, who told the New York Times in July that he was not taking hormones because he still wanted to compete
Thomas stands with her teammates after competing in the 400-yard freestyle relay after being crushed by Henig
In a less dominant display than in Ohio, Thomas swam slightly behind her closest competitor for most of the race, before pulling ahead at the end in the final heat. In the first heat, she finished about five second ahead of her closest competitor
On Saturday, Thomas was cheered to victory as won her first race of four – the 200m freestyle, finishing 1.48.73, with her closest competitor just two seconds behind her. She is pictured before the race
In a less dominent display than in Ohio, Thomas swam slightly behind her closest competitor for most of the race in the 200-yard freestyle, before pulling ahead at the end in the final heat. In the first heat, she finished about five second ahead of her closest competitor
Thomas did win two of the four races she entered on Saturday – the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. She won the 200 with a time 1:48.73 her second-slowest 200 of the season.
Thomas then took the 500 in 4:57.20, her slowest of the season by 3 seconds, and 23 seconds slower than her season best of 4:34.06.
She did not compete in the 1,650-yard freestyle, the event in which she beat UPenn teammate Anna Kalandadze by 38 seconds at the Zippy International in Akron, Ohio, last month.
Transgender University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas won the two of four races before being crushed in two others – months after smashing women’s records. Thomas came out as transgender in 2019 and under NCAA rules was eligible to switch from the men’s team to the women’s after taking a year of testosterone suppressants
UPenn’s final home event of the season took place behind closed doors, with only media and a few dozen family members present after college officials announced last week that general spectators were banned, citing Covid concerns.
DailyMail.com revealed last week that a number of Thomas’s teammates had considered boycotting the event over her participation but were worried about being labeled transphobic and banned from the Ivy League championship in February.
‘How convenient that they have now avoided this potential conflict that they’re now aware was going to take place,’ a parent told DailyMail.com.
On Thursday, UPenn and the Ivy League publicly reaffirmed their support for Thomas, pointing out that she is following the rules established by the NCAA.
‘As a member of the NCAA, Penn is governed by the policies of the national governing body,’ Penn Athletics wrote on Twitter.
‘Lia Thomas has met or exceeded all NCAA protocols over the past two years for a transgender male student-athlete to compete for a women’s team. She will continue to represent the Penn women’s swimming team in competition this season.’