Ex-Gator Olympian sets two more swim records

Published April 22, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - A four-time Olympian last weekend produced national masters swimming records for 50 and 100 yards, and officials think Dara Torres' times at North Shore Pool also may be the world's fastest ever for women 40 and over.

Torres, who won nine medals including five golds during her Olympic career, swam the 50 in 21.91 seconds and the 100 in 48.34.

"Her coach came up and announced it. I know they were both national records. I also believe they were world records," said Patty Nardozzi, a St. Petersburg masters swimmer and coach.

Torres swam the events faster than any other swimmer, male or female, in the St. Pete Masters' 37th annual short course (25-yard pool) meet.

Masters age groups in any sport typically start at age 40, but the meet included competitors as young as 19. Torres, a former University of Florida All-American, turned 40 on April 15, the day she set the records while swimming for the Gold Coast masters club. Torres lives in Coral Springs.

Torres competed in the 1984, '88, '92, and 2000 Olympics.

The St. Pete Masters team won the three-day meet, finishing first among 37 teams, as another Olympian, St. Petersburg resident Nicole Haislett, stopped by to watch.

Ron Collins, a St. Pete Masters swimmer, planned to mark Earth Day this weekend by swimming 24 miles up Tampa Bay from Egmont Key to the Courtney Campbell Parkway.