Dara Torres continues to defy age and expectations when it comes to her performance in the pool.
In a world record time trial attempt in the women’s 50 fly, Torres raced to a 25.50. The performance gave her a third-straight progression of the American record, lowering her time of 25.72 set in College Station, Texas in May. Earlier that day, she broke Jenny Thompson’s 2003 record of 26.00 with a 25.84 during prelims.
Torres missed the world record of 25.33 set by Marleen Veldhuis of The Netherlands in April of this year. But, her 25.50 moved her into third all time. She stands behind Velduis and Sweden’s Therese Alshammar (25.46), while moving in front of Sweden’s Anna-Karin Kammerling (25.57).
The 42-year-old swimmer and 28-time U.S. championship winner also won her 16th national title in the 50-free swim, finishing the competition in 24.43 seconds, and beating two other female swimmers half her age. That gives her a spot on the world championship team, which will compete in Rome later this month. Torres blew many 20-something swimmers out of the water in last year’s Beijing Olympics.
Despite the fact Torres has a body many of us could only dream about having, it’s starting to give her a run for her money. She had surgeries on her right shoulder, left thumb and left knee, and she’ll have another knee surgery later this year. Torres has a packed schedule, which includes spending as much time as possible with her three-year-old daughter, Tessa, as well as various speaking engagements and sponsor commitments.
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“The adrenaline is kicking in, so I don’t think about the knee that much,” Torres said. “I just try to push it out of my head. Age is just a number, right? Everything I do is for Tessa. She enjoys coming out and watching me swim.”