She's 50 meters — a single lap — away from history.
Dara Torres, swimming's elder stateswoman at age 45, is more than just one of the hottest 40-somethings on the planet. She remains a threat to win an Olympic medal in a physically demanding sport at an age when most of us are struggling to get off the couch to let the pizza guy in.
Torres is 28 years removed from her first Olympiad — Los Angeles, 1984. She's 18 years removed from an appearance in Sports Illustrated's 1994 swimsuit issue, when she became the first athlete to be featured among the supermodels — a development that I think we can all support.
Tonight, she aims to become the first American swimmer to compete in six Olympic Games when she swims in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle, a chaotic 24-second sprint to the finish that is swimming's version of the 100-meter dash.
Age hasn't caught up with Torres yet, but it's chasing her. "It's much tougher this time around," Torres said.
But after posting the third-fastest time in the semis, Torres is more than a sentimental choice. She's a legitimate threat. "It wasn't all I've got," she said of her performance in the semis.
Tonight, look for all she's got, and a little bit more. It might be enough to put America's hottest 45-year-old mom on a flight to London later this month.
Coverage of the swimming trials begins tonight on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern time.