Dara Torres top qualifier for 50 free finals

Updated: August 16, 2008, 12:13 AM ET
Associated Press

BEIJING -- Dara Torres, the 41-year-old mom swimming in her American-record fifth Olympics, will have the top starting position for the finals of the 50-meter freestyle after posting the fastest time in Saturday's semifinal heats.

Torres' time of 24.27 was the sixth-fastest this year, and 0.15 better than anyone else. World record-holder Lisbeth Trickett of Australia also advanced to the finals, as did American Kara Lynn Joyce.

"I looked and I saw that I was first," said Torres, who won bronze in the 50 in Sydney eight years ago. "That's a little more pressure, and I'm old enough to be able to handle it."

Torres already has a silver medal in Beijing, having anchored the U.S. women in the 400 free relay. But an individual medal would be nice, too, considering she'd retired after giving birth to her first child in 2006, thinking she was done competing.

At the start of this semifinal, Torres was playing mom -- concerned about helping Sweden's Therese Alshammar fix her torn swimsuit.

"I tried to help her with it, tried to do it up, and it ripped again," said Torres. "I was saying, `Her suit's ripped' and waving my arms around."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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