Torres also wasn't going to scurry down the stairs at the CenturyLink Center without the person who gave her a title more meaningful to her than five-time Olympian — her 6-year-old daughter, Tessa.
Though the 45-year-old fell short in her final bid to compete in one last Olympic Games, Torres lingered longer on deck than the other seven swimmers in the final of the women's 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.
Torres left no doubt after she eventually exited that this indeed was the last race of her historic, 12-Olympic medal career.
“This is really over,” Torres said. “That's it. I'm going to enjoy some time with my daughter and cheer on the U.S. team from afar.”
The other big news in the final women's event of the Trials is that Jessica Hardy and Kara Lynn Joyce finished 1-2 and will represent the United States at the London Olympics.
It was the second gold-medal performance of the meet for the 25-year-old Hardy — who came to Omaha as a breaststroke specialist but heads to London as America's fastest freestyle swimmer after sweeping the 50 and 100 free titles. Her winning time Monday was 24.50 seconds.
“I do more freestyle training in practice because it's the main stroke that everyone does,” Hardy said. “But I thought I was going to be a better breaststroker for sure here. I'm so happy and so grateful that this meet went as it did.”
Joyce became the final name penciled on the 26-person U.S. women's roster when she touched second in the 50 free in 24.73, 0.05 seconds ahead of Christine Magnuson. The 26-year-old Joyce finished second in this event at the 2004 Trials and heads to London for her third consecutive Olympic Games.
“I have had a very up-and-down last few years,” Joyce said. “I did my best to visualize and work on my one chance to lay it on the line for this 50, and I can't believe I did it.”
Torres finished fourth in 24.82, writing a happy, tear-producing final chapter to a book she later said she “wasn't expecting to close tonight.”
Looking up to Section 103, Torres found her family, friends and — most important of all — Tessa, who was wearing a green T-shirt that said “Go Mom.” Torres raced up the stairs and accepted a few hugs before scooping Tessa into her arms and returning to the deck.
That's where mom and daughter stood for close to two minutes. Mom was whispering things only Tessa could hear, even though a handful of photographers, a couple of writers and some on-deck officials were less than two feet away.
They finally made it over to Andrea Kremer for a quick interview on NBC before chatting with journalists in the mix zone interview area near the warm-up pool. While Dara answered questions, Tessa hid her face in mom's neck.
Then the two moved over for a few more questions from television reporters. Tessa took off her mother's contestant badge and used it to briefly play hide-and-seek with a reporter before mom wrapped things up.
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