US Olympic Swimming Trials Results 2012: No Shame in How Dara Torres Bowed out
Finishing third in the women’s 50-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials on Monday night ended Dara Torres’ storied career. After the way she performed this week, she can move on with her head held high.
Only a slow start kept her from getting into the top two in her last race; her reaction time was tied for the slowest. Torres’ speed was on the same level as the others, but that wasn’t enough to make up for a sluggish beginning of the race.
Considering that the others in the race were up to 20 years younger than her, Torres went out in style, missing out on her sixth Olympics by 0.09 seconds.
Torres’ career started with gold medals in the 4x100 free relay at the 1983 Pan American Games and 1984 Olympics. Her first individual medal was in 2000, when she won bronze in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for her, though. When she broke the American record in the 2008 Beijing Games as a 41-year-old, accusations of drug taking were rampant.
As Luke Cyphers of ESPN reports:
Torres has never failed a drug test, but the combination of her age, performance level and the degree of cheating in modern sports inspired doping questions from the media, questions that are sure to come up again if she qualifies for London.
Even when she was out of swimming for a year after having reconstructive knee surgery in 2009, Torres stayed in the active pool of swimmers, subject to random testing, instead of going into retirement and not being subject to it.
It bears repeating that Torres has never failed a drug test; she is just an incredible athlete whose long career has finally ended.
The way she should be remembered is the way she went out of the U.S. Olympic Trials this year: competitive, hardworking and never giving up on her Olympic dreams, no matter how many of them have already been fulfilled.
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