Catching Up with Dara Torres

By Jason Marsteller

PHOENIX, Arizona, November 26. AFTER putting together an incredible effort at the Berlin stop of the FINA World Cup circuit during which Dara Torres posted a pair of American short course meter records, Swimming World caught up with the trailblazer in a recent interview.

With your recent pair of American record swims in the 50 and 100 free over short course meters, you now own three out of the four sprint ARs available in meter format. Is Natalie Coughlin's 53.40 from Melbourne your next goal?

I'm not thinking about who's record I'm going to break next, I'm thinking more about swimming fast and seeing what I can do. The 100 free long course is not my best event, the 50 is. The way I'm looking at the 100 is that I'd like to make the team in the relay, and hopefully be a contributor. We need people like Natalie and Amanda [Weir], who have gone 53s before to do those times again!!

We've heard that you were planning on competing at the American Short Course Championships this weekend. You have personally stated that your wall work isn't your trademark, but even with that being said, do you have your sights on the American records of Kara Lynn Joyce (21.63) and Natalie Coughlin (47.00) as a potential sprint freestyle sweep this weekend at the American Short Course Championships held in yard format?

I am not competing at Nationals, but it will be fun to watch them swim!

In recent media interviews, you've spoken about your ability to maintain your level of excellence at 40. How do you perform so well?

I am very fortunate to have wonderful sponsors who believe in me and what I am doing and in that I am very grateful that this allows me to be able to work with the best people in their professions.

In the New York Times, you spoke about a discussion you had with Coach Michael Lohberg upon returning to competitive swimming where the performance-enhancing drug subject came up. You assured him that you had never taken a performance-enhancing drug, and that you have been getting your blood drawn regularly.

First, what are your thoughts and feelings when people state that your recent resurgence might have come from doping? Second, what do you think about the environment of the swimming community where anytime someone achieves something out of the ordinary, drugs are automatically whispered as the reason?

People can think what they want to think. I know in my heart that I am doing everything the way I am supposed to be…from training to requesting being urine and blood tested frequently. As long as my friends and family believe in me (which they do), then I don't let what people on the outside say bother me. It's too bad that when someone puts everything they have into something, with their heart and soul, and it gets questioned because they've done something a little extraordinary. But I guess that's life now.

On a lighter note, how is Tessa doing? Any special milestones yet?

Tessa is great. She's very outgoing and full of life. She's speaking some Spanish and English, which is kind of fun.

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