“Once Upon a Comeback” Doc Film Details Dara Torres’ Eating Disorder

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman Hodges and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

SEC Network will debut its latest SEC Storied documentary “Once Upon a Comeback,” the story of swimming sensation Dara Torres, on Monday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. ET. The film’s debut coincides with the SEC Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, with the women’s airing Sunday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. and the men’s airing Saturday, Feb. 27 at 11 a.m.

Dara Torres pushed boundaries for both her gender and age, breaking records and forging new paths for women. However, underneath the success was a relentless mounting pressure to look a certain way. A star swimmer at the University of Florida, Torres won nine SEC individual championships, was named SEC Athlete of the Year in 1988 and earned 28 All-American swimming honors – the maximum possible during a college career – all while living with a severe eating disorder. Bulimic during her time at Florida, Torres speaks about this experience on-camera for the first time in-depth. Her journey is not uncommon, just rarely talked about, and highlights the dangers of competing at the highest levels and pushing the limits, both physically and psychologically. 

Torres would go on to win 12 Olympic medals over a 25-year span, participating in five Olympic Games. As a veteran swimmer and mother, her 2008 Olympic comeback is legendary, when at age 41, she became the oldest swimmer to win an Olympic medal. Now, she is an important role model for all collegiate and Olympic athletes, having navigated the difficult transition from elite athlete to a successful life after sport.

The film was directed by filmmaking duo Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters.

“We began our careers in sports television, Nancy at ABC Sports and me at NBC Sports, and followed Dara’s amazing journey through many National & World Swimming Championships and five Olympic games,” said Lax. “We are in awe of her accomplishments, especially in 2008 when she made her third Olympic comeback as a ‘working mom.’ She is a remarkable inspiration to all of us working moms. Being able to handle the pressure and juggle the responsibilities – and to do it all with such poise and perfection is fairytale-like.”

Collectively, Lax and Winters’ television and film productions have earned them 16 Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and multiple CASE, Christopher, Cine Golden Eagle, Davey, Gracie, International Monitor, Telly and Sabre Awards. After building illustrious careers at rival networks — Winters at ABC producing Wide World of Sports and directing soap operas — and Lax at NBC Sports directing, producing and managing the production of over 500 short films & profiles for the Atlanta, Sydney & Salt Lake City Olympic Games — they fulfilled a lifelong dream of working together by joining forces in 2002.

An advance press screener is available upon request. Please contact Kimberly Elchlepp at[email protected] and Isabelle Lopez at [email protected].

About SEC Storied
ESPN Films launched the SEC Storied documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the Southeastern Conference. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the series has featured films that focus on the SEC’s recent and more distant past, including one of the most-viewed documentaries in ESPN history, The Book of Manning. In 2015, SEC Storied received its first two Sports Emmy nominations for both “Outstanding Sports Documentary” and “Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics” with the film It’s Time: The Story of Brad Gaines and Chucky Mullins.

About SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN launched SEC Network on August 14, 2014. The network televises hundreds of games across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming includes in-depth analysis and storytelling in studio shows such as SEC Nation, Thinking Out Loud and Rally Cap, daily news and information with SEC Now, original content such as TrueSouth, SEC Storied and SEC Inside, and more. Hundreds of additional live events are available for streaming exclusively on SEC Network’s digital companion, SEC Network+, via the ESPN App and SECNetwork.com. The network is also available in more than 135 countries throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia via ESPN Player, ESPN’s sports streaming service in the region.

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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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Guerra
7 days ago

The longer I live some things never change…Dara loves her some attention.

Large swimmer
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

Yikes dude

John
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

That was unnecessary

Guerra
Reply to  John
7 days ago

Yeah. I was being a smartass about Dara, but I should have considered the sensitive subject of the documentary before posting. I wish I could take that comment back…

FromStandsToBlocks
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

I’m surprised the SwimSwam censors let the comment through.

Last edited 7 days ago by FromStandsToBlocks
John
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

Unfortunately seems to be par for the course with you.

Mediocre Swammer
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

Regardless of the subject matter, what was the point of the comment?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

“I realized as soon as I took my seat on that plane to Cancun that it was a mistake.”

Dudeman
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

The initial comment says more about your character than a lame back-pedaling attempt

Hswimmer
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

Says you lol

Kitajima Fan
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

That’s messed up, man.

Scswim
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

Can’t think of many people that carve more attention than you.

Olympian
Reply to  Guerra
7 days ago

Who hurt you??

SwimFani
7 days ago

Dara has always been almost a mystical figure I our sport. She is a fabulous story of how we can remain flexible and healthy beyond our chronological years. A favorite as a television interviewer, one of my all time favorite athletes in any sport and truly an amazing person, not without her demons which make her more human. Dara if you are reading this please know that you still inspire many thousands of men, women and children. Your story of life continues – more to do. Godspeed to you and you family!!!

Andrew Sayko
7 days ago

Great interview Mel. Hope you’re well!

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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