Lia Thomas’ former UPenn swimming teammate Paula Scanlan said she had ‘NIGHMARES for weeks’ after sharing locker room with the transgender athlete
- Lia Thomas set records as a women’s swimmer at UPenn after transitioning
- But teammate Paula Scanlan was ‘incredibly uncomfortable’ with her presence
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A former teammate of Lia Thomas at the University of Pennsylvania has said she suffered ‘nightmares’ after a sharing a locker room with the transgender swimmer.
Paula Scanlan, who was reportedly a victim of sexual assault in a bathroom as a 16-year-old, said Thomas’ presence brought up previous trauma from her adolescence.
‘In general, bathrooms were a place I felt really uncomfortable,’ she told the New York Post. ‘I would just kind of relive the situation that I went through when I was 16.’
‘I would be at my locker and then all of a sudden hear a masculine voice, and I would just jump. ‘I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, somebody got in here.”
‘It’s incredibly vulnerable,’ Scanlan continued. ‘I had nightmares for weeks about men being there while we were dressing.’
Lia Thomas broke records as a women’s swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania
But her presence made some teammates, including Paula Scanlan, uncomfortable
Thomas, who previously competed on UPenn’s men’s swimming team, raised fairness concerns after switching over to the women’s team in 2021.
She set seven UPenn women’s teams records (five individual) and won three individual events at the Ivy League Championships in February 2022.
Thomas defended her place in women’s swimming in an interview with Sports Illustrated last year.
‘I’m a woman, just like anybody else on the team,’ she said.
‘I’ve always viewed myself as just a swimmer. It’s what I’ve done for so long; it’s what I love.’
However, her critics have even included those in the transgender community, with Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner not agreeing with Thomas being allowed to compete as a woman.
‘I’ve been consistent in how I’ve approached transgender athletes and it depends on the sport. Every sport is different,’ she told Fox News earlier this year.
‘Obviously, we saw with Lia Thomas she had gone through male puberty, bigger cardiovascular system, it just wasn’t fair.’
Scanlan, whose college swimming career is over, testified in defense of women’s sports
Scanlan (who has graduated from UPenn) testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government last week, speaking about the issue of transgender athletes in sports.
While Thomas’ college career is over, Scanlan still believes the issue is an important one.
‘If there had been a man on my team in high school, I would have quit, and I would literally have nothing,’ she said. ‘I would never have gotten into a good college. My entire life would have been derailed.
‘If even one girl is discouraged from competing in sports over this, we’ve failed,’ Scanlan added. ‘It’s so important to give girls these same opportunities.’