Dara Torres, the Olympic swim champ, has a couple of new passions.

She’s very involved in spinning and promoting the new Koss Fit Series, ear buds she helped design for the size of most women’s ears (although the two men in her life seem to enjoy the headphones, too). Torres was recently in the metro at a couple of cycling studios directing spin classes and passing out the colorful headphones, which are made in Milwaukee by Koss Corp.

I “cycled” with Torres at CycleQuest in Eden Prairie, and we talked about something swimmers apparently don’t think twice about doing in a pool; when she prefers not to be approached at the gym; and the only part of her body she’d like to change.

It’s not her stomach, which I got her to show off in my startribune.com/video.


Q: Are headphones essential to your workout or just a good way to ignore people?

A: It’s funny. A lot of times when I go to the gym I am very much in the zone, and so when I put headphones on I don’t mind people coming up and talking to me in between my sets. When I’m working out and in the middle of a set, I don’t really like people to come up to me and talk to me, so the headphones kind of are like, ‘Hey, she’s working out, got the music blaring, don’t bother her.’


Q: What NFLer would you like to see ignoring ESPN cameras while strolling from the bus to the locker room in your headphones?

A: Tom Brady. He doesn’t mind wearing purple. Tom Brady is very metrosexual, and these are headphones for women, although my husband and stepson have taken mine. Even though they are made for women, the men seem to like them, too.


Q: Do you believe Diana Nyad’s version of her record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida?

A: I absolutely, 100 percent believe Diana Nyad did her swim the right way. She did not cheat. She is an unbelievable athlete. The fact that she never gave up and continued to try is just unbelievable. So she is my idol.


Q: If there was a flood at your house, would your 12 Olympic medals be among the items you’d try to save?

A: My daughter would be the first thing that I’d try to save. The medals are great, but that’s not really what my swimming experience was about. It’s been the road to get the medals, what I’ve learned about myself. Learning about hard work and dedication and what it takes to be the best. The medals are the icing on the cake.


Q: Have you ever made water while in a swimming pool?

A: I’ve peed in the swimming pool, if that’s what you mean. Make water? The problem with having a kid is you have a tendency to go to the bathroom a little more than you used to just because of everything you went through with having a kid. Most swimmers haven’t had kids yet. I feel like I have to go to the bathroom all the time, so if I go out the number of times I have to go, I would never get my workout finished. It’s just easier to go in the pool.


Q: Have you ever gotten frisky in a swimming pool?

A: The swimming pools have always been about work. You didn’t ask me about hot tubs, but swimming pools — never been frisky.


Q: How long can you stay in a pool before your skin turns pruny?

A: It seems like the older I get, the quicker my skin becomes pruny. The more I’m out of the water, when I get in, the quicker my skin becomes pruny.


Q: I’d personally stereotyped swimmers as smart people. Then Ryan Lochte started talking. [She laughed.] Is he dumb or he is acting?

A: I wouldn’t say Ryan Lochte is dumb. Ryan’s a great guy. He just kind of lives in his own little world. I just think he has a lot going on and is just all over the place. It’s just typical of a boy, a male.


Q: What hurts on your body?

A: Right now my upper arms and upper abs. I’ve been taking boxing classes. I’m not used to keeping my arms up all the time and punching bags.


Q: Your arms are great, so you’ve probably never dreamed of having Angela Bassett or First Lady Michell Obama’s pipes.

A: I’m pretty OK with my body. I think if there is anything I’d like to change, it’s my rear. There are some women out there who have nice rears, and I wish I had their rears.


Q: Something more like this? [I pulled my shirt up and showed her mine.]

A: Yeah, exactly. Look at it. I want that lift. I don’t have that lift.


Q As a child I met Bullet Bob Hayes, Olympic sprinter, Dallas Cowboy and, at one time, the fastest man in the world. I overheard Hayes tell the adults around me that he got challenged almost daily by guys who would look at him and say: You don’t look that fast. Do you get challenged much at the pool?

A : The one time I got challenged was [by] a guy who said his dog could beat me. I’m like, seriously? He was adamant about it. So I had to go to the pool and race this dog in the pool, to show I’m faster than a dog.


Interviews are edited. Write to C.J. at cj@startribune.com.