The hottest topic in swimming is Dara Torres.
Dara's career and comeback at the age of 41 are legendary:
• Member of 5 Olympic swim teams with 3 world records
• Winner of 9 Olympic medals including 4 gold
• Swam in international competitions since the age of 14
• Set her best times in the 50 and 100 free at the age of 41
• Set a masters world record 3 weeks after her daughter’s birth
What Dara has achieved is an inspiration and wonder to Baby Boomers and those in Generation X and Generation Y. How does she do it?
In her own words, Dara explains, “I wake up and play with Tessa (her daughter) while we eat cereal and our breakfast. Then, the nanny comes and I go to practice from 8 to 10 am. After workout, I do dryland exercises with cords for an hour and a half and then get stretched and mashed. I spend some more time with Tessa and then get a massage. After, I pay bills and do other things.”
“…and it is not just stretching, it is resistance stretching where I am resisting while working on flexibility.”
“Mashing is when they use their feet to massage me because their hands can get tired. They stand on my legs and it really gets the toxics and lactate acid out so I can recover faster.”
Her description of her daily regimen may sound simple, but after observing Dara working out at Stanford University, it is clear that her regimen is successful because of her unparalleled focus, scientific thinking and world-class physical gifts.
Her swimming sets and stroke work in the pool are beautiful to observe.
“Dara is the fastest [female] swimmer in the water,” says Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas, USA Swimming’s Sports Science Director of Sports Science and the world’s leading expert on lactate testing. “She has great technique. We carefully analyzed Dara’s stroke at the US Olympic Training Center using the Swim Power device. After a detailed analysis of her technique, we made small adjustments in her technique before the Olympic Trials."
With the abundance of unfounded rumors and speculation that Dara is taking drugs to enhance her performance, Dara is open to all current and future testing.
Dara not only has her urine tested frequently, but she has also volunteered to have her blood tested regularly.
“They can test me all they want,” said Dara with confidence and a hint of frustration in her voice. “I need people to know I am clean. And, they keep my blood for years. They take five vials of blood each time and if there is some advanced analysis developed in the future, they can test my blood then.”
With that kind of training regimen, focus and track record of success over 3 decades, it is understandable why Dara is breaking new ground for athletes of all ages, abilities and backgrounds…fairly and cleanly.
Photo of Dara Torres by Colin A Gift at the USA Olympic Swim Team Media Day at Stanford University.
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