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Gold medal moms head list of women aiming for the Olympic pool

Dara Torres, Janet Evans, Amanda Beard, and  Natalie Coughlin are all swimmers who seem to be shattering the assumption that the Olympics are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The 2011 AT&T Winter National Championships took place this past weekend in Atlanta, GA. Fans crowded into Georgia Tech Aquatic Center to watch their favorite swimmers battle it out for a spot on the podium.

Some highlights from the event include:

Gold Medal Moms Dara Torres and Amanda Beard proved that they are well on their way to making their sixth and fifth Olympic teams, respectively. Dara Torres recorded her best finish since Beijing by placing 2nd in the 50 Free with 25.24 behind  Jessica Hardy (25.08).  Amanda Beard also placed 2nd in the 200 Breaststroke with 2:24.46 behind Rebecca Soni.

“I’ll take that,” Torres said, holding young daughter Tessa. “I haven’t been second in a while. If I do that at the trials, I’ll be fine.” (Washington Post)

Amanda Beard updated her fans with pictures and her times at Nationals on her new blog

During the final day of swimming at the Georgia Invitational, golden girl Natalie Coughlin clipped her American record in the 100-yard freestyle. Coughlin clocked a blazing 46.84, going out in 22.44 and coming back in 24.40, after posting a strong 47.72 during prelims. That performance bettered her 2007 American record of 46.85 by the slimmest of margins

Jessica Hardy swam her way to two National Titles in the 50 Free (25.08) and the 100 Free (54.82). She also received a silver medal for her 1:06.55 time in the 100 Breaststroke. The 100 Free was a tightly grouped race, only tenths of a second separated first and fourth place.

“I don’t think any of us really have the time to look around, but I knew it was going to be a great race,” Hardy said. “Those girls finish really, really strong compared to how fast I go out, so I just put my head down and finished as hard as I could.” (AP)

Kathleen Hersey captured a National Title in the 200 Butterfly as well as a bronze medal in the 100 Butterfly. Eric Shanteau captured a silver in the Men’s 200 Breaststroke and a Bronze in the 200 IM. He tweeted “Saved my best race for last, happy with my 200 tonight. Good way to start the season” (@Shanteau).  Elaine Breeden earned a bronze in the Women’s 200 Butterfly. 

Swimmers will be back in just a few weeks for the Nationally Televised Duel in the Pool event taking place December 16-17th at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. For 2011 Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool, click here.

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