Fact Check: Lia Thomas Did NOT Say She Would Swim With A Men's Team -- Claim Is From Satire Site

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Lia Thomas Did NOT Say She Would Swim With A Men's Team -- Claim Is From Satire Site Satire Site

Did Lia Thomas decide to swim with a men's team after facing "extreme criticism" for transitioning and swimming with female teams? No, that's not true: This claim about the transgender woman swimmer comes from a satirical website that has a history of fabricating content surrounding popular topics. The site says in its About section that it brings "the freshest fake news, some sassy analysis, and a good dose of satire." Lead Stories found no credible reports about what would be a newsworthy statement if Thomas had actually said she would swim with a men's team.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on December 12, 2023. A text overlay on the photo read:

Lia Thomas Decided To Swim With A Men's Team After Heavy Criticism, 'That's Where I Belong'

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of the writing of this fact check:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Dec 15 18:17:32 2023 UTC)

The post shares a link in its comments to a story on the website Story-Teller Press (archived here), which is an exact replica of an article posted on SpaceXMania (archived here), a satire website.

The article on SpaceXMania says:

In a move that has sent shockwaves through the world of competitive swimming, Lia Thomas has reportedly decided to join a men's swim team after enduring relentless criticism surrounding her participation in women's events. This decision is emblematic of the broader challenges and controversies that transgender athletes face and further intensifies the debate on gender, biology, and fairness in sports.

A Google search (archived here) of the terms "lia thomas decides swim mens team" yielded no credible results about the transgender woman swimmer making that announcement. According to her public Instagram page (archived here), she graduated in 2022 from the University of Pennsylvania, where she competed on the women's swim team.

The Disclaimer (archived here) section on the SpaceXMania website clearly explains that the content is satire:

About Satire
Please note that the article under the category 'SATIRE' are satirical in nature and are not meant to be taken seriously. These articles are meant to be humorous and are often entirely made up. We make no claim that the information presented in these articles is true or accurate.
Readers should exercise caution and use their own judgment when reading and interpreting our satirical articles. We take no responsibility for any actions taken based on the content of these articles.
We understand that some readers may be unfamiliar with satire and may not understand that these articles are not meant to be taken at face value. It is the responsibility of the reader to discern the intent of these articles and to understand that they are not presented as factual news.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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