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Freshman Amelia Girotto competes in the women's 500-yard freestyle during a swim meet against Dartmouth and Yale at Sheerr Pool on Jan. 8. Credit: Kylie Cooper

Penn women's swimming improved to third place at the Women's Ivy League Swimming & Diving Championships, the effort aided by a win from swimmer Lia Thomas in the 200-yard freestyle.

Thomas’ time of 1:43.12 set the new meet record in the event, besting the previous time set in 2020 by Miki Dahlke of Harvard by .66 seconds. Her time in the preliminaries at 1:44.91 also beat Dahlke’s 2018 pool record by .09 seconds.

Sophomore Catherine Buroker returned to the pool on day three to claim her second Ivy League title by finishing first in the 1000-yard freestyle at 9:43.54. Junior Anna Kalandadze placed right behind in second, and senior Grace Giddings finished fourth, only a couple of seconds shy of finishing third to close out the top three for Penn.

Senior Hannah Kannan qualified second during the 100-yard backstroke preliminaries, her time of 53.76 making the NCAA B cut. She finished fourth later in the day in the finals, scoring important points for the Quakers to advance in the team rankings.

Kannan and Thomas teamed with senior Grace Estabrook and freshman Vanessa Chong for the 400-yard medley relay. Penn placed fourth behind Brown by .15 seconds.

With a score of 810, Penn stands behind Harvard and Yale as the Quakers head into the final day of the Ivy League Championships.

Thomas placed first in the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday, one of many familiar names of the Red and Blue to notch a place towards the top of the results.

Three Penn swimmers closed out the top three of the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries, as Thomas, Kalandadze, and Buroker finished in succession. In the finals, Thomas set the pool record with her win at 4:37.32, although the meet record set in 2020 by Ellie Marquardt for Princeton still stands. Buroker finished second and made the NCAA B cut with her time, and Kalandadze placed fourth, her finish missing the B cut by .34 seconds.

Thomas' performance follows her absence from the Quakers' meet at West Chester University. On Thursday, she swam in the 200-yard freestyle relay timed finals with junior Margot Karczorowski, Kannan, and junior Camryn Carter. The Quakers finished fourth at 1.32.45, with the top three places claimed by Yale, Princeton, and Harvard. Yale's winning relay team was led by Iszac Henig, a transgender swimmer who was one of over 300 athletes to sign a letter in support of Thomas, and the Bulldogs set the new meet record with a finals time of 1:29.66.

Anticipation for the Ivy championships was heightened in part due to uncertainties on Thomas' eligibility to compete. In the weeks building up to the competition, her eligibility to compete was unclear through changes in NCAA guidelines for transgender athletes. 

With recent clarifications that the NCAA would not adopt more rigid policies on transgender athletes as outlined by USA Swimming, Thomas remained eligible to compete through the Ivy League Championship this week, as well as the NCAA Championship in March.

The Quakers finished the first two days in fourth place, and will be heading into the weekend gearing up for the peak of the competition.

The format of the competition will remain consistent into the final day of the championships, with preliminaries occurring through the day from 11 a.m., and finals beginning at 6 p.m.

This article is live coverage of Penn at the Women's Ivy League Swimming & Diving Championships and was last updated Feb. 19, 12:33 p.m.