The United States womens’ 400-meter freestyle relay team—including Los Angeles native Dara Torres—scored a second place behind the Netherlands on Sunday.
Torres is the most famous Jewish competitor with ties to the Southland this year, and she’s competing in an unprecedented fifth Olympiad at age 41.
Don’t let the surname deceive you. Torres’ father is Jewish, and she formally converted before marrying her second husband, an Israeli surgeon. She attended Westlake School for Girls before it merged with a boys’ school to become Harvard-Westlake in Studio City and swam for coach Darlene Bible, who’s still at the school as a swimming coach and athletic director.
Torres already has nine Olympic medals to her credit, including three golds for swimming on freestyle relay teams in Los Angeles in 1984, Barcelona in 1992 and Sydney in 2000. Sports Illustrated does not predict she will win a medal in the 50-meter freestyle this time, but Time lists her as the No. 2 of 100 Olympic athletes to watch.
Torres didn’t think it was bizarre that she performed so well in holding off third-place Australia and China for the silver medal. The Netherlands won in an Olympic record time of 3:33.76. The United States set a national record at 3:34.33.
“The water doesn’t know what age you are,’’ she told the Los Angeles Times.