Ron DeSantis: Emma Weyant, not Lia Thomas, is ‘rightful winner’ at NCAA swimming championships

Florida will recognize the winner of the 500-yard women’s freestyle at last week’s NCAA championships — and it’s not Lia Thomas.

Gov. Ron DeSantis took to Twitter on Tuesday to recognize one of the state’s residents as the true winner of the event and issued a proclamation to that effect.

“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,” Mr. DeSantis said of the University of Pennsylvania swimmer, who is transgender and competed on the Ivy League school’s men’s team until two seasons ago.

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

Ms. Weyant swims for the University of Virginia and was an Olympic silver medalist, but lost last week’s race by 1.75 seconds, a healthy margin at high-level competition.

Mr. DeSantis attached to his Twitter post the lengthy governor’s proclamation, complete with the formal and legalistic “Whereas…” transitions between paragraphs.

Ms. Weyant logged “the fastest time among all women swimmers [but] … a male identifying as a woman was allowed to compete in and was declared the winner of the race,” Mr. DeSantis wrote in his proclamation.

The proclamation went on to note that the state had passed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” requiring athletes in Florida public schools and colleges to compete according to their biological sex.

Under that authority and based on her being a native Floridian, Mr. DeSantis wrote that “I … do hereby declare in Florida that Emma Weyant is the rightful winner of the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s 500-yard Freestyle.”

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