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DeSantis Names Florida Swimmer the 'Rightful Winner' of Competition – Instead of Lia Thomas

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is wading into the controversy of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’ first-place finish in a women’s 500-yard freestyle event.

In a tweet Tuesday, DeSantis wrote, “By allowing men to compete in women’s sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships, and perpetuating a fraud.”

“In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota’s Emma Weyant as the best women’s swimmer in the 500y freestyle,” he added.

During an event on Tuesday, he said, “If you look at what the NCAA has done in allowing basically men to compete in women’s athletics. And in this case the swimming, you had the number one woman who finished was from Sarasota, Emma Weyant. She won the silver medal, she’s been an absolute superstar her whole career.”

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“To compete at that level is very, very difficult. And you don’t just roll out of bed and do it. That takes grit. That takes determination. And she’s been an absolute superstar, and she had the fastest time of any woman in college athletics,” he continued.

Finally, the governor added, “Now the NCAA is basically taking efforts to destroy women’s athletics. They’re trying to undermine the integrity of the competition, crowning somebody else the women’s champion, and we think that’s wrong.”

Emma Weyant came in second place after Thomas in the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championship 500 yard freestyle event last week.

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Thomas’ first place finished marked the first time a transgender athlete won a Division I national championship.

However, several social media users argued that Weyant should be recognized as the winner.

Parents of other competitors in the event also voiced their disapproval of the outcome. One swimmer’s father told Fox News, “It’s taking opportunity away from females that have worked very, very hard for a long, long time, even before college, to get in this position. It’s just not right.”

DeSantis also signed a proclamation naming Weyant the winner.

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