Originally posted on Fox Olympics  |  Last updated 6/30/12
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 cheers and shouts of ''Let's go, Dara!'' before she stepped on the blocks. Torres bent over and rested her hands on her knees before getting into her starting position. After Beijing, she took 16 months off for a radical surgery on her left knee that involved cutting her left shin, adjusting it to a new position under the kneecap and inserting cartilage that took up to a year to fully develop. ''It's a lot tougher this time,'' Torres said. ''When I was 41 people said I was middle-aged, but now I'm really, really middle-aged.'' Torres has retired twice before, including one stretch that lasted seven years between the 1992 and 2000 Olympics. ''In '08 it was about winning medals,'' she said. ''This time it's about making the team.'' Christine Magnuson, trying to make her second Olympic team, qualified second in 24.75. Two-time Olympian Kara Lynn Joyce and Madison Kennedy tied for third at 24.93. Amanda Weir, back on the Olympic team for the first time since 2004, was eighth. Among the 16 women - mostly 20-somethings - moving on to the evening semifinals was Erika Erndl. The 34-year-old former North Carolina swimmer was 13th. She has competed at trials before and didn't make the team.
PLAYERS: Dara Torres
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Fergie apologizes for NBA All-Star anthem performance

Report: Kirk Cousins won't sign long-term with new team if tagged and traded

Verlander speaks out against MLB rule change

Jeremy Lin defends J.J. Redick over perceived racial slur

Anthony Rizzo opens up about vigil speech: 'Hardest thing I ever had to do'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Giannis vows to stay with Bucks

Bryce Harper won't answer questions about free agency

Polian: Lamar Jackson 'short' and 'slight,' needs to be a WR

Favre on his future: ‘Tomorrow I may not remember who I am’

Silver: 2019 All-Star draft likely to be televised

Shiffrin’s boyfriend sent home from Olympics after post-race remarks

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

Dario Saric thriving in shadows of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

Ten bold predictions for 2018 MLB season

Wil Myers has a tough adjustment ahead of him

10 NFL offseason moves that need to happen

Flyers reverse course behind a balanced attack

Champions League Round of 16 preview, predictions

Swimming News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

The 'Emerald City on ice' quiz

NHL Weekender: Blackhawks, Rangers continue to free fall

The 'Hope springs eternal' quiz

Dario Saric thriving in shadows of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker