OMAHA, Neb. – There will be no sixth Olympic Games for Dara Torres.
The 45-year-old, 12-time Olympic medalist finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle Monday, the final night of the Olympic trials, then reaffirmed her decision to retire from swimming.
“This is really over,” Torres said as she held her 6-year-old daughter, Tessa. “That’s it. I’m going to enjoy my summer and have some time with my daughter and cheer on the U.S. team from afar.”
Torres finished in 24.82 seconds, well off her U.S. record of 24.07, and missed an Olympic berth by .09.
Jessica Hardy won in 24.50, followed by Kara Lynn Joyce (24.73) and Christine Magnuson (24.78). The top two finishers qualified for London.
“I love racing Dara,” the 25-year-old Hardy said. “I wish she could have made it this year, but swimming with her the past couple years has been really an awesome treat for sure.”
Tessa was wearing a green shirt that said, “Go Mom.”
“She’s bummed she’s not going to London now,” Torres said. “I told her I’d still take her.”
Torres first won an Olympic medal on a relay team at the 1984 Los Angles Olympics.
Since winning three silver medals at the 2008 Olympics as a 41-year-old, which made her the oldest swimmer in Olympic history, Torres had shoulder and knee surgeries and her coach, Michael Lohberg, died from complications related to a blood disorder.
“Making the team was my goal,” Torres said. “Missing it by less than a tenth of a second is tough, but there isn’t anything I could have changed. Swimming three times, taking fourth in the Olympic trials against girls almost half my age, it’s OK.”
Torres finished her career tied with Jenny Thompson for the most medals by a female Olympic swimmer, a mark Natalie Coughlin could tie by winning her 12th in London.
Speaking of Olympic medalists, eight was enough for Michael Phelps in Beijing.
Phelps dropped one of his eight Olympic events, leaving him with seven at the London Games. That means the 14-time gold medalist won’t equal the record eight golds he won four years ago.
“Four years ago, we were trying to literally do everything,” Phelps said. “That was what we wanted to do but at this point, it’s let’s go out, let’s have some fun, let’s relax a little bit.”
Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, announced that Phelps was scratching the 200-meter freestyle.
“It’s so much smarter for me to do that,” Phelps said. “We’re not trying to recreate what happened in Beijing. It just makes more sense.”
Phelps qualified in five individual events for London and is expected to swim all three relays. But, on Bowman’s recommendation, he will focus on the 200 and 400 individual medleys and the 100 and 200 butterfly.
“This is an event program that I’m very confident that I can do and do better than I did here,” he said, referring to his results in Omaha.
Bowman said his main concern was Phelps being fresh for the 400 freestyle relay. While the U.S. has traditionally dominated that event, Australia is favored in London. The relay was one of Phelps’ closest calls in Beijing, with teammate Jason Lezak coming from behind on the anchor leg to win the gold.
In the last event of the eight-day trials, Andrew Gemmell won the 1,500 freestyle in 14:52.19. Connor Jaeger took the second spot for London in 14:52.51.
Gemmell tried to make the team in open water, but finished third in those trials. He switched to the pool and earned a trip to London.