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Swimmer Lia Thomas nominated for NCAA 2022 Woman of the Year Award

The swimmer became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title.

WASHINGTON — University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas was nominated for the 2022 NCAA's Woman of the Year Award. 

The award recognizes female student athletes who have distinguished themselves in their communities, athletics and academics, according to the NCAA's website. 

"As 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the NCAA Woman of the Year program is an important opportunity to honor and reflect on the impact of women on intercollegiate sports," the NCAA wrote in a press release.

Earlier this year, Thomas became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA Division I title after finishing first in the women's 500-yard freestyle. She has also been at the center of debates about transgender athletes in sports. 

Her win drew widespread attention, including from Republican politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who issued an official proclamation declaring the runner-up the “real winner.”

Thomas said in May on ABC’s “Good Morning America" that she was aiming to become an Olympic swimmer. She also disputed those who say she has an unfair biological edge that ruins the integrity of women’s athletics, saying “trans women are not a threat to women’s sports.”

There is a total of 577 nominations representing 23 different sports. Ten students are chosen from each division, naming them the Top 30 honorees. From the 30 selected, there will three finalists from each division. 

The Woman of the Year award will be named at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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