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Swimmer Dara Torres Just Misses Her Chance at a Record Sixth Olympics

Illustration for article titled Swimmer Dara Torres Just Misses Her Chance at a Record Sixth Olympics

At last night's Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Dara Torres narrowly missed qualifying for her sixth Olympics. The 45-year-old finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle and lost out on a spot on the team by just nine-hundredths of a second. Torres said afterward, "I'm used to winning, but that wasn't the goal here. The goal was to try to make it. I didn't quite do it, but I'm really happy with how I did."


While this may have been a somewhat low-key ending to a long and successful Olympic career, there are plenty of other high notes to remember. She competed in her first Olympics in 1984, and has won 12 medals in total, tying her with Jenny Johnson as the most decorated female swimmer in the U.S. Torres was the first American to swim in five Olympics, and she was also the oldest female swimmer ever to compete at the games.

She won three of those medals in Beijing, but since then she's undergone a radical knee surgery. As nice as it would have been for her to go on setting records, Torres accepts the reality of the situation: "I don't think there's anything I could have changed. You got to look at it realistically. As much as I want to win and I wanted to make the team, that's pretty good for a 45-year-old." Indeed it is. As for where she goes from here, she's got some important plans: She's heading back to Florida with her six-year-old daughter Tessa, where they plan to watch the Olympics at home and enjoy the rest of the summer together.


Torres Moving on After Olympic Bid Fails [AP]

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As much as I love Dara Torres, the fact that she almost made the team is a sad commentary on the depth of our talent pool in the sprints (pun intended). No person in their mid-40s — regardless of their gender or genes — should be even moderately competitive in any fast-twitch, speed endeavor.