WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
April 30, 2011
Dara Torres seems to attract a crowd wherever she goes, even a low key masters meet in Fort Myers.
After the five-time Olympian competed in only her second meet since the 2009 Rome World Championships and reconstructive knee surgery, the fans cleared out of the stands and followed her to the warm-down pool for autographs and photos.
Torres was happy to oblige after easily winning the 50-meter freestyle in 25.68 Saturday morning at the Gulf Coast Swim Team Spring Masters Meet at the Lee County/Florida Gulf Coast University Aquatics Center.
She bettered her 2012 Olympic trials qualifying time of 25.90 she swam at the Feb. 19 Missouri Grand Prix where she swam prelims and finals in her signature event.
Torres, who turned 44 earlier this month, is the American record holder in the event with a time of 24.07 she swam at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Aug. 17.
Torres, who swam for GOLD Coast Masters that has a variety of swimmers from local clubs including Coral Springs, was looking to get in some racing and gauge her training and knee recovery. With no one close to her time in the field, she ended up racing the clock.
“I’m in mid-training so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Torres told the Naples Daily News. “I just needed to start racing. That was the point to come and race. I wanted to go a little bit faster. It’s just a normal reaction. I think everyone always wants to do a little faster than what they go.”
The meet start was delayed for about 45 minutes while the pool was certified in case any age group records were broken in the event.
“Everything is good,” Torres said. “I’m still working on my leg and trying to get it stronger. This was good progress.”
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org