Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Dara Torres, the amazing Olympian, swimmer, and mom who made headlines at Beijing when she swam for a comeback at age 41. She won three silver medals and also won me over.
Not only did Torres give me lots of great advice on health, training, and fitness, but she also shared some insight on how she balances intense training with a (relatively) normal personal life. She was funny and refreshingly honest. Better yet, I've got a video excerpt of our interview! Check it out below.
To read some more of my favorite excerpts from the interview, read more.
FitSugar: Tell us about your memoir, Age Is Just a Number:
Dara Torres: "It was really a lot of fun to write. I got that title because I really realized you don't put an age limit on your dreams. And a lot of people put elite athletes on pedestals and forget that we're human and that we make mistakes and we have our ups and downs and our trials and tribulations, and I really wanted that to get across. I wanted the everyday person to relate to my book."
FS: What are some of those trials and tribulations you discuss in the book?
DT: "I talk about just getting back into my comeback and my father passes away from colon cancer. I deal with the pressures of trying to make an Olympic team when so many eyes are on me and so many middle-aged people are counting on me. I talk about my coach, who ended up having a rare blood disorder right after I made the Olympic team. There were a lot of things I had to deal with."
FS: And you also, throughout all this, have been raising a daughter? How old is she now?
DT: "My daughter is 3, and it's really been such a fun time in my life. I really looked towards role models like working parents to figure out how I can balance my life to be the best mom that I can be and also be able to do what I love to do. Just normal people who work 9-to-5 jobs and are still awesome parents. It's a tough thing to try to figure out how to balance, but I'm lucky I found a balance that works really well for both my daughter and myself."
FS: And does she like swimming?
"She loves swimming. I've had her in the pool since she was about 3 months old. Some of my teammates who are so young tease me and say 'you guys'll be swimming in the same meet coming up soon,' so I get teased a lot."
FS: What is your precompetition ritual in terms of what you eat or what you do?
DT: "I'll drink some type of shake with milk before I swim, and that's really all I need. I don't like to eat a lot before I'm in a big race because I'm already nervous as it is and the last thing I need to do is get sick to my stomach. Maybe have a little cereal with milk. Just very minimal what I eat before I train."
FS: In a recent interview with More magazine, you mentioned that you had some eating disorder issues when you were in college and went "cold turkey." What tips could you offer to other women who are struggling with this?
DT: "It's not easy to get over it on your own. What I did was set a goal. And at that point in time I had not been swimming for a while, and my goal was to try and make a third Olympic team. The minute I had that goal in my head, it was like, you know what, I can't have this eating disorder anymore or else I'm not going to reach my goals. And so I was lucky to have swimming as an outlet. The biggest thing you need to do is be able to talk to someone about it. It's not like if you talk to them you’re going to get over it right away but at least you can communicate and let someone know and hopefully they can help you get help."