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Dara Torres' coach, Chris Jackson, says she has a great shot at becoming a six-time Olympian. Torres told NBC 6 why she keeps competing -- and training 20 hours a week in a Coral Springs pool -- at age 45.
Dara Torres, 45, came in fourth in the 50-meter freestyle at the Olympic trials Monday night, missing out on a spot at the London 2012 Olympic Games by 0.09 seconds.
The five-time Olympic swimmer needed a first- or second-place finish to take her to London. Her time was 24.82 seconds.
Jessica Hardy won the race in 24.50 seconds, followed by Kara Lynn Joyce in 24.73 seconds.
Torres had finished a solid third behind her much younger competition on Sunday.
“After last night, I think everybody's pretty confident she has a great shot,” Torres’ coach, Chris Jackson, said in the leadup to the 50-meter final.
Jackson met Torres in 2005 when she was pregnant and still eager to swim.
Torres, from Parkland, attempted to become the oldest American to become a six-time Olympian.
“It's much harder as a 41-year-old to (do) this – four years later as a 45-year-old than a 21-year-old,” she said.
The swimmer spends 20 hours a week in the pool at the Coral Springs Aquatic Center to maintain her success. In 2008, Torres earned three silver medals in Beijing. She underwent knee surgery the following year.
“People say, ‘Why are you still doing this?’ and I say, ‘Because I can and I love it, and until my body breaks down and I just can't do it anymore and I'll stop,” she told NBC 6.
Jackson said the 45-year-old is not letting her doubters drown out her goals and that Torres sticks to her strict diet and workout regime.
“A lot of people that are famous may be a little uptight, but not Dara,” said her coach. “No, Dara's real down to earth and a caring person.”
Jackson, who is inspired by Torres’ achievements, said he would watch her race Monday night.
“You can't let age limit your goals and hold you back from things you want to do,” he said. “I think that's what a lot of people took from this.”