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Dara Torres, First US Swimmer to Compete in 5 Olympics

December 23, 2008
by Amy Goldschlager
Dara Torres is the first U.S. swimmer to compete in five Olympic Games. At 41 years old, she became the oldest Olympian of either sex to medal in swimming, picking up three silvers at Beijing 2008.

Dara Torres is arguably the fastest female swimmer in America. She entered her first international swimming competition at age 14, and competed in her first Olympics in 1984, winning a gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay. She went on to compete in the 1988, 1992 and 2000 Olympics, medaling each time. Four months after the birth of her daughter Tessa in 2006, she began training again for the Olympics.

She posted her best time ever and set an American record in the 50m free at the 2007 Nationals. In Beijing 2008, she went on to win three silver medals, one in the 50m free and the others swimming anchor in the 4x100m free relay and the 4x100m medley relays. In total, she has won 12 medals in her Olympic career.

Her impressive performance in Beijing has inspired many older athletes to consider re-entering competition, including cyclist Lance Armstrong. Torres herself has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The first female athlete to grace the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Dara Torres has also appeared as a commentator on such networks as Fox News, ESPN and the Discovery Channel. Her memoir, “Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams At Any Stage In Your Life,” will be published in April 2009.

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