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Dara Torres: 1967—: Olympic Swimmer, Model, TV Reporter and Announcer

Training Again At 33

In March 1999 Torres resumed her athletic career after her boyfriend teased that just talking about swimming put a gleam in her eye. Her relationship with the boyfriend faded, but thoughts of a return to the lanes revived the natural competitiveness of the two-time Olympic gold medalist. Her first phone call to swim sprint specialist Richard Quick, the Stanford University and Olympic women's team coach, convinced him that she had reignited the competitive spark. With her savings, private donations, and sponsorship by Speedo and Computer Associates, she shucked a lucrative modeling contract and her work on the tae-bo infomercials and flew to Palo Alto, California. Despite the lapse of seven years and loss of muscle tone, she convinced Quick that she sincerely intended to qualify for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team.

Torres also sought the support of 1992 swim team-mate Jenny Thompson, a five-time gold medalist, who helped her locate temporary residence in Menlo Park, California. At age 32, Torres became the first American swimmer to train for a fourth try for Olympic gold. At Stanford University, she was surprised to feel old and underweight among the svelte, smooth-limbed teen-aged rivals, who dubbed her "granny," according to Newsweek.

Quick began retraining Torres in newer methods of stretching the body, rotating the hips, and gazing down while stroking out. To master the modern freestyle, she attended a youth swim camp and practiced among children who weren't even born when she retired in 1992. To compensate for lost breathing capacity from asthma, she forced a full exhale under water and drew a replacement breath when she surfaced. Workouts matched up to four hours of pool time with spinningand flexibility exercises, weight training, yoga, and Pilates.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Theodosius I to David Watmough Biography - David Watmough comments:Dara Torres: 1967—: Olympic Swimmer, Model, TV Reporter and Announcer Biography - From Hyperactivity To Competition, From Champion To Olympian, Training Again At 33, Beat The Odds