Fresh off her final practice of the week, the most controversial athlete in America sat in the corner of a nearly empty Philadelphia coffeehouse with her back to the wall. Lia Thomas had done some of her best work this season while feeling cornered. On this January evening her long torso was wrapped in a University of Pennsylvania swim and dive jacket, her hair still damp from a swim—roughly three miles staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool. She looked exhausted. As college students across the country were digging into their Friday nights, Thomas was thinking about her weekend plans: sleeping, studying and another grueling swim practice. Read More