You heard the saying age is nothing but a number, and that you’re only as young as you feel? Well for 45- year old swimmer Dara Torres she has been feeling youthful for decades now. The now 12-time Olympian started her swimming dominance at the young age of 14, it was then that she would start a unbelievable winning streak, and picking up numerous awards. At the University of Florida Torres was far beyond a swimming standout, she was one of the greatest swimmers the gators had ever seen at the time. While at Florida she captured a staggering 28 NCAA All-American swimming awards which is actually the maximum amount of awards an individual can obtain.
The Florida alum would go on to become the first US swimmer to compete in four Olympic games, five total Olympic games after a brief brake from competition. She made her first appearance in the 1984 summer Olympic games in Los Angles where at only 17 years old captured a gold medal with the 4×100 meter freestyle relay. Four years later in the summer Olympic games in Seoul she added two more medals to her collection with a bronze and silver medal in two relay events. In the 1992 games in Barcelona Torres brought home a gold medal from yet another hard fought relay according to sports reference.
She would take a bit of a break after the Olympics to just relax and take a break from competition. Dara Torres loved the thrill of competition and in Sydney, Australia in 2000 Torres had her best Olympic performance medal wise in her career. At age 33 Torres was able to win 5 total medals during the games with two of them being individual races. She won three bronze medals in all three of her individual races, and won two gold medals in her relay events. After the Sydney Olympics she retired momentarily to start a family, but just six years later Torres showed that she still had it, and showed the world she was not your normal athlete. In 2006 just weeks after giving birth to her daughter she broke a world record at the masters nationals according to Dara Torres.
Just a year later she broke yet another world record this one was her own that she had set seven years prior in the 50 freestyle race. Her never die attitude and remarkable motor kept her going and somehow she made her fifth Olympic team in 2008, and proved to the world she was still in great shape. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics she took home an outstanding three silver medals, two in relays, and one in the 50 meters freestyle. Many people believed that Torres would call it quits after Beijing because lets face it, she was not getting any younger, but as you may know Torres keeps her body in top shape and is anything but a 45 year old woman.
Four years after her gusty performance in Beijing, Torres wanted to see if she could make here sixth Olympic games. She tried her luck at the US Swimming Olympic trails in Omaha,NE this past week. On Monday June 2 she barely missed out on her trip to the London Olympics by getting fourth place in the 50 meters freestyle. She missed second and third place and her fifth Olympic games by nine-hundredths of a second.
“I was at the peak of my career four years ago, if anybody would have ever told me in 2008 that you would have been competing in the 2012 Olympic trials, I probably wouldn’t have believed them.” Torres said in a statement to USA Today.
“Just being there, it turns out, was a victory in itself,” Torres said.
It looks like the 12-time Olympian stellar career may be coming to an end, but she has defined what hard work and determination can take a person. She has gained thousands of fans and even more respect from her competitors, she has and will be seen as a role model to young swimmers all across the world. A huge salute goes out to Torres and her amazing swimming career, they may not be another swimmer to swim as long as she did.
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