Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dara Torres Swims Mid-Life in the Fast Lane

"Age is just a number,” says Dara Torres, who at 41 will become the oldest American to ever swim at the Olympics. At last week’s Olympic Trials, this middle-aged mother shattered her own world records in the 50-meter freestyle along with our preconceptions about age and women in competitive sports.

It’s not that Dara hasn’t felt her age over the years. After three Olympic games and four medals, the champion swimmer retired, feeling she was too old to continue the high level of competition. She was 25. Now on her second amazing comeback, this swimmer is faster, fitter and foxier than ever.

Dara is not exactly your average 40-something woman. A gifted athlete, she trains her ass off – she swims, hits the gym, is fanatical about nutrition, and stretches, stretches, stretches. She has a team of coaches, trainers and masseuses. But when Matt Lauer asked her about the key to her success, she mentioned none of those things.

“I believe.” Dara said. “I think that the biggest thing is mentally to believe that you can do it. The water doesn’t know what age you are, so why not?”

We may not be headed for the Olympics, but just because we are over 40 we don’t have to let our age limit us. Like Dara, we can believe in ourselves – whatever we choose to do – and we can all be winners.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Dara's philosophy. Four years ago at 47, I completed the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The walk was 39 miles over two days.We slept in a tent in a Chicago Park and the grand finale was held at Soldier's Field as crowds of supporters congratulated us. The woman race walking ahead of me the entire time was none other than my 70-year old mother.

Marjie Killeen said...

Congratulations to you and your mother on your Avon walk. I'm sure it was a powerful experience. I did it in 2000 with my own mom, a breast cancer survivor. I'm sure she'd tell you she feels better than ever 8 years later.