Age-defying Torres keeps dream alive

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 1, 2012 - 8:03 PM

The five-time Olympian recorded the third-fastest time in the 50-meter freestyle semifinals.

Dara Torres celebrated after a strong effort in the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle Sunday. Torres, 45, is bidding to qualify for her sixth Olympics.

Photo: Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

OMAHA - With one more Olympic medal, swimmer Dara Torres would break her tie with Jenny Thompson as the most decorated American woman in her sport. But the hardware isn't what inspired Torres on Sunday, when she swam in the semifinals of the women's 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Torres pulled off an astonishing feat in 2008, when she made her fifth Olympic team at age 41. She's upping the ante now at age 45. Already the oldest female swimmer ever to compete in the Games and the only American swimmer to compete in five Olympics, Torres still is driven to compete in London, 28 years after she made her first Olympic appearance in Los Angeles.

Her time of 24.80 seconds Sunday was the third-fastest of the semifinal heats at CenturyLink Center, where her age-defying performance made her a favorite of the crowd of 12,406. While she was happy with her time, Torres said there were only two numbers that mattered to her this week: one or two, where she must finish in Monday's finals to make the team.

At the other end of the age spectrum Sunday, Missy Franklin won the 200 backstroke to set up an ambitious agenda for London. Franklin, 17, finished in 2:06.12, the fastest time in the world this year. She also won the 100 back at the trials in American-record time, finished second in the 100 and 200 freestyles and qualified for all three relays; if she swims that entire program, she would be the first American woman to compete in seven Olympic events.

Also on Sunday, Anthony Ervin made the Olympic team in the 50 free, and Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte put their rivalry to rest until they meet in London.

Phelps prevailed in the 100 butterfly Sunday, shooting from sixth place at the turn to win in 51.14 seconds, while Lochte finished third behind Tyler McGill. Phelps won three of their four head-to-head races at the trials, but Lochte called it a "training meet'' and said he anticipated what he could do on full rest at the Olympics.

Torres said she has enjoyed watching their ongoing matchup in Omaha. Other swimmers have enjoyed watching her, inspired by her ability to remain among the fastest sprinters in America.

"It's a totally different approach than I had when I was 17, at my first Olympics,'' Torres said. "It's much tougher. People said I was middle-aged at 41, but I'm really, really middle-aged now.

"When I look back on all the medals I've won, that's not the great part about it. The great part about it is staying in for so long. My mindset, my mentality, has changed over the years. I appreciate it so much more now, what it takes to be an elite athlete.''

In Sunday morning's preliminaries, Torres swam the fifth-fastest time -- 25 seconds flat -- while conserving energy for the semifinals. At 45, she does not recover as quickly from those all-out swims, which she said is the biggest difference these days. The older she gets, the more carefully she must manage every detail of her training and racing to maximize her results.

After winning three silver medals at the 2008 Olympics, Torres had reconstructive knee surgery in 2009. She has found every aspect of her training more challenging than before, but that has only fueled her desire. She said she still had not given her ultimate effort.

Torres hopes that will happen Monday, when only first or second place will do. "I'm very excited to be in the final,'' she said. "I'm ecstatic.''

  • SWIMMING

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie 2
New Orleans 7:25 PM
Carolina
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Milwaukee 106 FINAL
Charlotte 108
Philadelphia 91 FINAL
Indiana 103
Atlanta 102 FINAL
Toronto 109
Brooklyn 105 FINAL
Boston 121
Washington 95 FINAL
Miami 107
Chicago 104 FINAL
New York 80
Minnesota 101 FINAL
Memphis 105
Detroit 79 FINAL
Denver 89
Houston 104 FINAL
Utah 93
Golden State 95 FINAL
Sacramento 77
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Phoenix 119
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Portland 106
Detroit 4 FINAL
Washington 2
Nashville 4 FINAL
Edmonton 1
(2) Florida State 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
Vancouver FC 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close