Dara Torres Enjoys ‘Amazing’ Corps of Veteran Competitors at Olympic Trials

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Dara Torres Enjoys ‘Amazing’ Corps of Veteran Competitors at Olympic Trials

Dara Torres was 41 years old with a two-year-old daughter in 2008 when she ended her retirement to make a run at the Beijing Olympics.

That daughter is now off to college, and Torres duties at this week’s U.S. Olympic Trials are limited to handing out medals and autographs. But she hopes her influence might extend to the set of swimmers beyond the traditional age ranges still competing on this stage.

Torres, now 57, enjoyed watching Gabrielle Rose contest Trials at age 46, the two-time Olympian even finding her way into the semifinals of the women’s 100 breaststroke. The swimmers were teammates on the 2000 U.S. team, back when well over half of the competitors at 2024 Trials had yet to be born.

Torres felt that Rose, “did an amazing job,” highlighting that she did so as the mom of a nine-year-old. Torres hopes that maybe things started to change in the way older swimmers are viewed thanks in part to her breakthrough two decades ago.

“I hope that I was one of the ones that helped pave the way a little bit,” Torres said by phone this week. “I think there was such a stigma, especially when I was really young, and the teenage years and early 20s were like the max of what you’d see. But in reality, I really think that had a lot to do with that there wasn’t much money in the sport. And so you graduated college and you went on to work and get a job. I think that was part of it. So I think people just assumed you were better in your teens and early 20s than you were in your 30s and 40s because it wasn’t the norm.

So it’s so nice to be able to see some of these older swimmers, like (Matt) Grevers and everyone else coming back to continue to swim and still be at top of their game. It’s wonderful to watch.”

Rose wasn’t alone at this Trials among the relatively aged set.

At age 35, Ashley Twichell set best times across the board and made two finals, the Tokyo open water Olympian placing eighth in the 800 free and third in the 1,500 (thought 10 seconds shy of a place in Paris. Matt Grevers, though not a serious threat to make a third Olympics at age 39, relished his swim in the 50 free. He was in a lane next to Kaii Winkler, a great hope of the American sprint future who was in diapers when Grevers swam at the Beijing Games.

Brooke Boak, at age 37, finished 28th in the 50 free, an event that featured 1989 birth year Kaitlyn Johnson (tied for 47th). Brandon Fisher, 35, swam both men’s breaststroke events, finishing 22nd in the 200.

Age, as Torres titled her memoir, is just a number. That’s a mindset that Torres still lives. She remains active and tries to challenge herself physically, mainly with fitness classes like TRX, solidcore or Rumble Boxing. She enjoys having classes with a community of people and a coach to push her, though she recognizes it’s not for everybody.

The new head coach at Boston College has embarked on a new venture partnering with Boost nutritional shakes called Boost Camp, which offers fitness videos and instruction for people age 50 and up to reap the benefits of exercise if they have nothing more than a space at home to work out.

Torres has long used Boost as a nutritional supplement, and when she saw the “age is just a number” tagline they used, she figured they’d have common cause.

“You don’t really see a lot of people 50 and over excited to go to a workout that is advertised with young people in the ads or it looks intimidating,” Dara Torres said. “So if people are intimidated by that – which you shouldn’t be, but if you are – we thought it’d be a good idea to put these videos out for people to do workouts at home or maybe they don’t like being in classes with other people or whatever the situation is in, that they can get a full body workout in 10 minutes and feel good about themselves.”

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