Hello swimming enthusiasts! In the spirit of the upcoming Olympic Trials, today I will be highlighting Dara Torres, a female swimming superstar who, in addition to being the oldest swimmer ever on the U.S. Olympic Team, was the first and so far only swimmer ever to represent the U.S. in five different Olympic Games.
Torres was born on April 15, 1967 in Beverly Hills, California, where she attended the Westlake School for Girls and swam on their swim team. By the age of twelve, she had set her first national record, and at the age of fourteen, she competed in her first international competition. In 1984, Torres became a part of the U.S. Olympic Team, winning the gold on the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay team.
In the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Torres became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics, and returned home with three silver medals. One of these silver medals was earned from the 50-meter freestyle event, where she was 1/100th of a second short of the gold medal. However, she was appreciated for her good-natured reaction to the results.
In 2012, at the age of forty-five, Torres came back to her swimming, but failed to make the Olympic team. Overall, Torres has swam in five Olympic Games and won twelve Olympic medals, making her tied with Jenny Thompson and Natalie Coughlin as the most decorated female American swimmer.
Torres’ impressive showing in Beijing and her attempt at participating in the 2012 Olympic Games has made her an important role model of comebacks in sports. She has inspired countless older athletes to think about re-entering competition, such as cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Perhaps this year in Rio, there will be another unexpected successful swimmer. Keep your eyes open!