BOSTON — Schuyler Bailar was featured on “60 Minutes” and interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres as his story — Bailar was the first transgender NCAA Division I swimmer — was celebrated when he swam for Harvard. But when Bailar first spoke a few years ago to Lia Thomas, he warned the Penn swimmer that it might not be the same for her.

“There’s a clear difference and that difference is that I’m a trans man and she’s a trans woman,” said Bailar, who transitioned before his freshman year at Harvard and swam four seasons, from 2015-19, for the men’s team. “That’s misogyny. Very clearly misogyny.”

“There’s a couple reasons why this is happening the way it is. The first is that she’s a trans woman and people care a whole lot more about policing women and policing women’s sports than they do about the men’s category. The other reason is that she’s good. She’s a great swimmer. Period. I’m not saying for her category or whatever. She’s just a great swimmer.”

Thomas continued Saturday to move toward March’s NCAA Championships by winning both of her individual races with an impressive showing in Bailar’s old pool. There were no protesters outside Blodgett Pool like there were last week in Philadelphia and each victory ended with Thomas lifting her goggles and pounding fists with the Harvard swimmer who finished second (Samantha Shelton in the 100 meters, Felicia Pasadyn in the 200 meters).

Thomas’ performance has been criticized by some on social media and covered heavily by certain news outlets but Saturday seemed generally like a typical college swim meet — which Harvard won, 187-113 — except that both Harvard and Penn declined to make swimmers or coaches available for any comments to media.

Thomas, a senior, swam for Penn’s men’s team in 2019-20 and did not swim at all last year as the Ivy League season was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic. This is her first season on the women’s team.

Thomas began undergoing testosterone suppression treatment more than two years ago and submitted her required documentation to the NCAA.

“She’s saving people’s lives,” Bailar said. “Very clearly. Very bluntly. Visibility within the trans community saves lives everyday, multiple times a day because what it says is, ‘Hey, I exist. You can, too.’ That is so powerful, and I truly mean it when I say that it’s life-saving.”

Thomas’ performance has become an almost daily topic for conservative outlets such as Fox News and The Daily Mail, who see her as a man dominating a woman’s sport.

“I’ve read a lot of articles about Lia, and one of the things I’ve read pretty consistently is that she is stealing spots from other women,” Bailar said. “Lia is a woman. Sports require people to beat other people. That’s how they work. Any woman beating any other woman is not stealing a spot but earning a spot.”

“Another comment I’ve seen is, ‘Oh she’s taking spots from women who have worked their whole life to be here.’ Lia has worked her whole life to be here. She started swimming when she was 5 years old and she has worked hard just like everyone else to be a really great swimmer.”

Earlier this week, the NCAA changed its guidelines for transgender athletes as transgender participation for each sport will be determined by the policy for the sport’s national governing body, subject to review and recommendation by an NCAA committee to the Board of Governors.

USA Swimming said Thursday it expects FINA — swimming’s international governing body — to release a new policy shortly, which they will adopt.

“USA Swimming firmly believes in inclusivity and the opportunity for all athletes to experience the sport of swimming in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity and expression,” USA Swimming said. “We also believe in competitive equity and like many are doing our best to learn and educate ourselves on the appropriate balance in this space.”

» READ MORE: Lia Thomas swims on for Penn amid controversy

Although the exact details of the new policy have yet to be announced, it appears Thomas and other trans athletes will now be required to have testosterone levels tested four weeks before the national championship meet per the NCAA’s new rules.

Bailar criticized the changes as an added burden for those participants.

“Four weeks before a competition, the only thing you should be focusing on is rest and getting ready for your meet. It adds a layer of inconvenience, for sure, that other athletes do not have to deal with.”

Bailar was also concerned about the new NCAA policy because it didn’t specifically exclude genital exams: ”There’s literally no reason that one should be able to do that — no reason we should have visual inspections of people’s genitals.”

Thomas won her first individual race on Saturday -- the 200-yard freestyle -- in 1 minute, 47.08 seconds and was 6 seconds off her top time this season. She won the 100 free in 50.55 seconds, which is a second behind her fastest time this season.

She capped each race with tremendous finishes, pulling away with strong final kicks.

“No one is saying, ‘Michael Phelps is fair because he can be beaten.’ They say, ‘Wow. Michael Phelps is unbeatable. Amazing.’ Right?” Bailar said. “About Lia Thomas, we should say, ‘Wow. That’s amazing. Look at how fast she went. Look at how great of an athlete she is. Look at how hard she trains.’ Every time I talk to her, her hair is wet because she just got out of practice. She is an incredible athlete and she should be celebrated as an incredible athlete just like any other athlete who is amazing.”

Penn will finish its regular season on Friday at West Chester before the Ivy League and ECAC Championships are contested on consecutive weekends in February. A month later, Thomas is scheduled to swim in the NCAA Championships in Atlanta. Thomas has qualified for the 100 and 200 freestyles.

She has the nation’s best time this season in the 200 free. A national championship is in reach.

“The thought gives me goosebumps,” Bailar said. “Her visibility has already and will save lives. I think it would just be a cherry on top.”