Dara Torres began her long climb back towards the London 2012 Olympics two weeks ago at the Missouri Grand Prix. After undergoing Frankenstein-like reconstructive knee surgery about a year ago, it will be a very long climb. She got off to a good start in Columbia after placing 6th in the 50 free in a time of 25.9 (roughly a second behind winner Jessica Hardy). It will surely be a long climb back to the top, but Torres tells Universal Sports that she is taking solace in the knowledge that this will be the last time she has to make the Olympic journey.
Most probably assumed that that it was unlikely that she would shoot for (or make) a seventh Olympic team at the age of 49, but then again who would have thought in 2008 that she could make her fifth team at 41, either? It’s nice to know that she put that speculation to rest, and she will be retiring at exactly the right moment. There are some young, very talented sprinters in the American ranks (like Maddy Schaeffer, Lia Neal, and Missy Franklin) who might already challenge her in 2012, but by 2016 will be more than ready to safely take over Torres’ spot on the National Team.
Prior to the Grand Prix, Torres had not competed since the 2009 World Championships in Rome. Her 25.9 already qualifies her for the Olympic Trials, which is a nice confidence builder and a huge mental hurdle.