Dazzling Dreams of Olympic Gold at 41

In Coral Springs, Fla., she works with strength and conditioning coach Andy O'Brien to help her prepare.

"She's absolutely exceptional. I mean, for a 41-year-old athlete, you would expect Dara to be slightly behind, if not quite behind. But she is way ahead," O'Brien said. "The average athlete would take anywhere from three to six weeks to really adapt to something that Dara takes about one week to adapt to."

Still, there are times when Torres said she feels the effects of getting older in such a young sport.

"It's all about recovery for me at my age," she said. "These kids can go and do their workouts, and come back that afternoon and bounce back and be fine, and not be hurting or sore, or feel heavy in the water. It's much different for me."

Today, Torres has 15 pounds less muscle than she did when she competed in Sydney, though she's just as strong. Her regimen relies less on weight lifting and more on medicine balls and pulleys.

It's all to secure her place as the world's oldest swimming champion, though she doesn't see it that way.

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