Dara Torres lingered in the water after the other swimmers had climbed out.
Her long career was finally over.
She wanted to soak up the moment as long as possible.
The 45-year-old Torres came up short in her bid to make it to the Olympics for a sixth time. She finished fourth in the final of the 50-meter freestyle Monday night, her only event at the U.S. swimming trials.
After winning three silver medals at the Beijing Olympics, Torres underwent radical knee surgery and put all her hopes into a chaotic dash from one end of the pool to the other. But Jessica Hardy won in 24.50 seconds, while Kara Lynn Joyce took the other Olympic spot in 24.73.
Torres missed a trip to London by nine-hundredths of a second, also touching behind third-place Christine Magnuson (24.78). Torres smiled when she saw her time and hugged both Hardy and Joyce. When Torres finally got out, she began motioning for her young daughter, Tessa, to join her.
Torres walked into the stands, still dripping wet, an...