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Dara Grace Torres (born April 15, 1967) is an American former competitive swimmer who is a twelve-time Olympic medalist and former world record-holder in three events. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, she competed in the 50-meter freestyle, 4×100-meter medley relay, and 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and won silver medals in all three events.Torres is the first swimmer to represent the United States in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 20), and, at age 41, the oldest swimmer to earn a place on the U. Torres has won twelve Olympic medals (four gold, four silver, four bronze), one of three women with the most Olympic women's swimming medals.Torres has broken or lowered her own American record in the 50-meter freestyle ten times, which is the most by any American swimmer in any event. It puts Dara in the ranks of Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods. With the American relay team's second-place finish, she became the oldest swimmer to win a medal in Olympic history, surpassing British swimmer William Robinson, who was 38 at the time of the 1908 Summer Olympics.In addition to employing her training team of coach Michael Lohberg, a sprint coach, a chiropractor and two masseuses, Torres used resistance stretching trainers, calling it her "secret weapon" for continued success. On August 17, 2008, she won the silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle, finishing in a new American record time of 24.07 seconds, one one-hundredth (0.01) of a second behind the winner, Britta Steffen. National Championships in 2009, Torres won the 50-meter freestyle with the fourth-best time in the world for the year (24.42), and she also placed in the 50-meter butterfly, qualifying her to compete in those events at the 2009 World Championships.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.Torres earned a bronze medal for swimming for the third-place U. women's team in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay final, together with teammates Mitzi Kremer, Laura Walker and Mary Wayte. She swam the second leg of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay for the winning U. team that included Nicole Haislett, Angel Martino and Jenny Thompson, and earned a gold medal for her efforts in the event final and first-round qualifying heat.She lowered her initial American record by 1.62 seconds.
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.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.For the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, Torres qualified for the U. Olympic women's team in one individual event and two relay events. Olympic women's team in a single event for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.I think this performance ranks up there with the biggest performances in sports ever. Torres' twelve Olympic medals tied the all-time medal record for a female Olympic swimmer set by fellow American Jenny Thompson in 2004; American Natalie Coughlin subsequently equaled the record in 2012. This was the first time since 1986 that Torres competed in the World Championships; she placed eighth in the 50-meter freestyle and she did not advance beyond the qualifying heats in the 50-meter butterfly.She was named the SEC Athlete of the Year in 1988, SEC Female Swimmer of the Year in 19, and earned twenty-eight All-American swimming honors—the maximum number possible during a college career.