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Thomas makes history

ATLANTA (AP) — Lia Thomas took control in the final 100 yards of the 500-yard freestyle to make history Thursday as the first known transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship.

Thomas, the University of Pennsylvania senior who entered the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships as the top seed, had a season-best time of 4 minutes, 33.24 seconds.

“I didn’t have a whole lot of expectation for this meet,” Thomas said. “I was just happy to be here and race and compete the best I could.”

Virginia’s Emma Weyant was second at 4:34.99.

The race was close until the final 100 yards, with Weyant and Erica Sullivan of Texas pushing Thomas for the lead.

As was the case in Thursday morning in a preliminary win, Thomas was stronger at the end. She won the preliminary race at 4:33.82.

Thomas also is the top seed in the 200 freestyle Friday and is the 10th seed in the 100 freestyle Saturday.

Thomas is a former male swimmer for Penn. She has followed NCAA and Ivy League rules since she began her transition in 2019 by starting hormone replacement therapy.

The inclusion of the transgender swimmer created controversy, even within the sport. There were fewer than 10 protesters outside the Georgia Tech facility, and some carried banners which read “Save Women’s Sports” in the stands.

“I try to ignore it as much as I can,” Thomas said. “I try to focus on my swimming .. and just try to block out everything else.”

Carolina routs Marquette

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Brady Manek scored 28 points, Caleb Love had 21 of his 23 before halftime and North Carolina routed Marquette 95-63 in first-year coach Hubert Davis’ NCAA Tournament debut Thursday.

Love made six 3-pointers, all in the first 19 minutes, to tie Carolina’s single-game tournament record as the Tar Heels (25-9) built a 28-point lead.

Manek, who also had 11 rebounds, finished with five 3s as he and Love combined to go 11 of 24 from long range. Armando Bacot grabbed 10 rebounds on his way to the school season record (422).

RJ Davis had a career-high 12 assists for eighth-seeded Carolina, which will play defending champion Baylor less than 100 miles from the Bears’ Waco campus Saturday.

The win was in stark contrast to last year, when the Tar Heels sent Roy Williams into retirement with his only opening-round loss in 30 NCAA appearances.

Shaka Smart’s return to Texas was a dud a year after he took the Marquette job amid questions about his future as coach of the Texas Longhorns following a shocking first-round loss to Abilene Christian.

Olivier-Maxence Prosper scored 16 points for the No. 9 seed Golden Eagles (19-13), who lost their third consecutive first-round game.

Smart, who lost all three of his first-round games in six seasons with the Longhorns, had one of three Marquette technical fouls in a span of 90 seconds late in the first half when he complained about a no-call. Kur Kuath got one for hanging on the rim after a dunk. Darryl Morsell was penalized on review after a scramble for a loose ball.

Just before the tech spree, Morsell ended up nose-to-nose with Love after trying to take the ball out of his hands when Love was called for stepping on the midcourt line while trying to dribble around the stocky Marquette guard.

The Tar Heels were already up 18 when players from both teams had to be separated. It quickly got worse from there.

Baker wants to be free

(AP) — Baker Mayfield wants out of Cleveland immediately. The Browns aren’t wiling to let him go just yet.

Mayfield requested to be traded by the Browns on Thursday after the team failed in its pursuit of controversial Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Mayfield asked to be dealt shortly after the Browns were told by Watson and his representatives that the three-time Pro Bowler wasn’t coming to Cleveland, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The team, in turn, denied Mayfield’s demand, said a person with knowledge of the Browns’ decision.

Mayfield, who is coming off a rough 2021 season and shoulder surgery, was angered by the Browns’ public overtures toward Watson and feels his time in Cleveland is over.

“It’s in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on,” Mayfield told ESPN. “The relationship is too far gone to mend. It’s in the best interests of both sides to move on.”

Pack trade Adams to Vegas

(AP) — The Las Vegas Raiders have made a blockbuster move to keep up in the AFC West, acquiring All-Pro receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers.

A person familiar with the move said Thursday the Raiders are sending the No. 22 overall pick in the April draft and additional compensation to the Packers to reunite Adams with his college quarterback, Derek Carr. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been announced.

NFL Network reported that Adams has agreed to a new five-year deal with the Raiders that will pay him $141.25 million in the richest deal ever for a wide receiver.




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