Phelps & Torres: Youngsters, Take Note

Dan Murphy July 27, 2012 0

This is the last in a series of articles leading up to the start of the 2012 Olympics in London on July 27. Each will highlight an athlete and the aspects of his or her sport that make it an example of Great Design. Today, Michael Phelps and Dara Torres. Even though Torres did not make it to the Olympics, we feel she represents the essence of Great Design

Olympic swimming Dara Torres, Michael Phelps

World-class swimmers are Great Design submerged. Excellent muscle tone, stamina, and ridiculous cardiovascular health are all required to knife through water fast enough to claim Olympic glory.

Two of the best examples of Great Design in the history of the U.S. Olympic swim team are Michael Phelps and Dara Torres—two stellar athletes whose amazing careers appear to be culminating this summer.


Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer

When it comes to the Olympics, Phelps is ubiquitous. The lanky athlete is the most decorated gold medalist in Olympic history. He scored a record eight golds at the 2008 Olympics, and every time he got into the pool in Beijing it became a must-see sporting event.

The eight gold medals added to the six gold medals and two bronze medals that Phelps earned at the 2004 Summer Games. Quite simply, if he snags any more hardware at the 2012 London Games, he’ll need to seriously consider dedicating an entire room in his home solely to Olympic medal storage.


Swimming Pool Workout, Michael Phelps


Why is he so good? Freakish athleticism and the fact that Phelps has worked to create a lean and muscular physique don’t hurt. But it’s also possible that Phelps is simply designed to be a swimmer. He stands 6-foot-4 and he has an abnormally long torso, a 6-7 wingspan, and large hands, all of which give him more powerful strokes. His size 14 feet don’t just mean he wears big shoes, they also serve to propel him through the pool.


Michael Phelps, Quote


There’s been talk that Phelps may hang up the Speedo and retire after the 2012 Games, his fourth visit to the Olympics. Regardless, for a few days this summer the world will again be transfixed on what goes on in the pool during the seven events that involve the best swimmer in the history of the sport.


Dara Torres, Olympic Swimmer

Dara Torres just missed being on the 2012 Olympic team. A fourth-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials (Torres missed qualifying by just nine-hundredths of a second) effectively meant that her career ended in the pool at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center.

But the fact that the 45-year-old was even in the running for an Olympic berth was a tribute to the accomplished swimmer. Torres has competed in an astonishing five Olympics (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, and 2008) where she claimed 12 medals, including four golds.


Swimming Workout, Dara Torres


Torres has a chiseled 6-foot frame complete with abdominal muscles that are more defined than those found in an anatomy textbook. She also boasts a swap of blonde hair and the looks of a fashion model. But she’s not just great design in the physical sense. Torres is also a devoted mother, the author of a pair of books, and a motivational speaker. The elder stateswoman of the U.S. Swimming Team is also a picture of grace and class.


Quote by Swimmer Dara Torres


“Being 45, getting fourth in Olympic trials against girls almost half my age, it’s OK,” Torres told reporters after her final race. “I’m used to winning, but that wasn’t the goal here. The goal was trying to make it. I didn’t quite do it, but I’m really happy with how I did. I was able to hang in there.”

It’s a shame that Torres won’t be strolling into Olympic Stadium with the rest of the U.S. athletes during the opening ceremonies. In an era where there are far too many athletes with poor role model skills, the world could use a few more standouts like Dara Torres.


Dara Torres, Swimming


Michael Phelps wouldn’t have a closet full of gold medals if he didn’t dominate in several events. The Great Design is in the perfectly honed technique required to excel in the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Those are four uniquely different swimming strokes, and Phelps has them all down pat.

In the 2012 Olympics, Phelps will compete as an individual in the 100- and 200-meter butterfly, the 200 and 400 individual medleys (both of which consist of the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle). He’s also in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays and the 400 medley relay.


Playing in Pool, Michael Phelps


Competing in a full slate of events certainly requires amazing ability in several types of swimming styles, but it also requires amazing stamina. Phelps starts an eight-day run of competition with the grueling 400 individual medley on July 28, and isn’t done swimming until the 400 medley relay on August 4. After a brutal week like that, Phelps is allowed to retire if he feels like it.


Michael Phelps, Dara Torres Olympic Facts


Video: Michael Phelps and Dara Torres on Olympic Swimming

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