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Her book Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams At Any Stage In Your Life has just been published and today she debuts as ? in a Advertising (33)Dara Torres shows no signs of slowing down.The five-time Olympian who turns 42 next month won the 50-meter freestyle Thursday night at the Austin Grand Prix, her first meet since the Beijing Olympics where she brought home three silver medals.Torres has been heralded as a hero for men and women everywhere.Her e-mail inbox overflowed with congratulatory notes.Torres won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics when, at age 33, she was the oldest member of the 2000 U. Torres accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where she swam for the Florida Gators swimming and diving team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition under coach Randy Reese from 1986 to 1989.In her four years as a Gator swimmer, Torres won nine Southeastern Conference (SEC) individual championships, including the 50-yard freestyle (1987, 1988, 1989), 100-yard freestyle (1987, 1988, 1989), 200-yard freestyle (1987), and 100-yard butterfly (1988, 1989); she was also a member of twelve of the Gators' SEC championship relay teams.Torres won three NCAA individual national championships (50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly) in 1988; and was a member of six of the Gators' NCAA championship relay teams, including the 400-yard freestyle relay in 1986; the 200-yard and 400-yard medley relays, and the 400-yard freestyle relay in 1988; and the 200-yard and 400-yard medley relays in 1989.
When you hit the water, the water doesn’t know what age you are.” Eight years ago on the pool deck at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, moments after she captured a fifth medal that made her the Games’ most decorated female athlete, Torres flashed a bright but weary smile. “I felt like I really didn’t have anything else to prove to myself,” she remembers. And I was tired.” Well, don’t look now—actually go ahead and look because Torres, often singled out for her beauty (she was the first athlete to pose alongside models in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue), appeared leaner, stronger and not a day older as the oldest member of the 2008 U. Torres, a five-time Olympian is also a mother of a 2-year-old daughter.
This weekend, 41-year-old Dara Torres became the oldest swimmer to win an Olympic silver medal (she missed out on the gold in the Women’s 50m Freestyle by 1/100th of a second), ultimately departing China with three silver medals to tie her with Jenny Thompson as the most decorated female U. It seemed like every time I turned on the TV, there she was — smiling, cheering on teammates, chatting and laughing with competitors, even holding off the start of a race to let a competitor fix a ripped bathing suit.
But medals, records, and inspiration aside, I found myself captivated by Dara throughout the race because of the sense of she brought to the games.
In November 2013, she was named as a recipient of the 2014 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, presented annually to six distinguished former student-athletes on the 25th anniversary of their final school year of athletic eligibility.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Torres was a member of the winning U. women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay team, swimming in the first-round qualifying heat and earning a gold medal in the event final.