Jessica Hardy was the leading qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle preliminaries at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Sunday, while Dara Torres had the fifth-fastest time in her bid to make a record sixth Olympic team at age 45.
Hardy won the last of 16 heats in 24.55 seconds Sunday morning while swimming next to Torres, who touched second at 25.00.
''It's really fun to race her. She brings out a level of excitement,'' said Hardy, the surprise winner of the 100 free Saturday night after failing to make the team in her 100 breaststroke specialty. ''She's an inspiration. She's in better shape physically than all of us.''
Torres is competing in just one event at trials after winning three silver medals four years ago in Beijing. She would be the first American to swim in six Olympics if she finishes in the top two of Monday's final.
''This is the first time I've ever come to trials and had no idea how I'm going to do,'' Torres said.
Her appearance on the deck was greeted with big ch...