Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres: New Life, New Book
The silver medalist talks about her training regimen, as well as how she raises her young daughter.
At the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, Dara Torres, 41, became the oldest
swimmer to ever make the U.S. team. But she didn’t just make the team -- she
came home with three silver medals. Five months later, WebMD Magazine caught up
with Torres to talk about her new book and her life since making her big
Last summer, you proved to the world that Age Is Just a Number—the
title of your new book, coming out in April. Does this mean you’ll be aiming
for a spot on the Olympic team in London in 2012?
I’ve learned after all these years to never say “never.” But at my age you
have to take everything day by day. You have to listen to your body…
[Currently] I’m training for Nationals, and will hopefully make the World
Championship team [in 2009].
At 33, you were also the oldest member of the U.S. swim team in Sydney in
2000. Did you ever dream you would be able to compete 8 years later?
No. It wasn’t even a thought. I remember walking out of the arena in Sydney
and a reporter said, “are you going to do that [again]?,” and I just thought
that was a stupid question. So no, that never crossed my mind.
Health-wise, what’s the most difficult part of competing at your
Recovery, probably, and the pounding on your joints and muscles.
You have a daughter, Tessa, who will be 3 in April. How is your body
different after having a child?
The first thing I noticed was that I was more flexible. Everything loosens
up in your body. I assumed my hips would get wide, but I’m probably narrower in
the hips now. I’m not sure why.
What do you do on your day off?
Nothing. In the past I would go for a bike ride. One of my days off is
Sunday, so I spend the day with my daughter. It’s all about catching up: paying
bills, going to the bank, running errands.
What is your worst health habit?
Sugar. I love anything with sugar in it, whether it’s dessert, candy, or
How important is nutrition in your training?
Very important. I don’t deprive myself of certain foods. I’ll have a bite of
something. But I’ve hired someone to cook so that I’ll know that I’m eating
properly. At my age it’s about recovery, and eating well helps you recover
Why did you feel the need to volunteer for enhanced drug screening,
offering up DNA, hair and blood in addition to the standard urine
Because there were athletes who came before me who would look the media in
the eye and lie. And I can tell people until I’m blue in the face and they
won’t believe me. Nowadays, you’re guilty until proven innocent, and I wanted
to prove that I wasn’t doing drugs, and that I could do this the right way.