Torres, Dara : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Torres, Dara


Country Represented:
United States

Years Competed:
1984, 1988, 1992, 2000

Medals Received:
gold, bronze

Olympic Info:
The first American swimmer to compete in four Olympiads, Torres is one of the greatest swimmers in Olympic history, medaling in all four Olympiads. At the 1984 Los Angeles Games, at the age of 17 Torres won the gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay. Four years later at the Seoul Olympics, she captured the silver medal in the 400-meter relay and took the bronze in the 400-meter medley relay.

At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Torres captained the women's swim team and won another gold medal in the 400-meter medley relay, setting a world record in the process. Then, after seven years away from the pool, Dara returned to competitive swimming at the 2000 Sydney Games. She won gold medals in the 400-meter freestyle relay and the 400-meter medley relay, and bronze medals in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, and 100-meter butterfly.

Career Highlights:
Born in Beverly Hills, Torres began her successful swimming career as a pre-teen when she set a national age-group record in the 50-meter freestyle at the age of 12. Training with the Mission Viejo Swim Club, the teenage Torres became one of the best freestyle sprinters in the country, culminating in the 1984 U.S. 50-meter freestyle title. After winning a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, Torres attended the University of Florida, where she won the maximum possible NCAA All-America honors (28). She also won the NCAA championship in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly in 1988.

After the 1988 Seoul Games, Torres retired from swimming to concentrate on a career in television. She initially took a position as a sports research assistant at NBC, but after two years, returned to the pool and trained for the 1992 Games. She captained the U.S. Olympic women's swim team in Barcelona, then retired for a second time after winning her fourth Olympic medal in 1992. Torres worked in television for the Discover Channel (host of "Extreme Step," a segment of a science and technology show, "The Next Stop"), ESPN, TNT, and Fox News. In 1994, she became the first athlete to appear with the supermodels in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.

In the summer of 1999, Torres came out of retirement once again to train for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Despite a successful international career, Dara had never won an individual medal at the Olympics. In Sydney, she won three individual medals, and swam on two winning relay teams, to finish her Olympic career with nine medals. Torres, who retired for a third time following the Games, is the American record-holder in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly. She held the former world record in the 50-meter freestyle and the American record in the 100-meter freestyle.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. April 15, 1967

Beverly Hills, California

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