Last summer at the Beijing Olympics a 41-year-old swimmer, Dara Torres, stunned the world by winning three Silver Medals in a sport where 25 is considered old. Most would think that at her age, we'd seen the last of her as an elite competitive swimmer, but guess what! She's BACK!

Friday, May 22nd, Dara set two new American Records at a senior circuit meet at Texas A & M. Here's how it went down with all the extraordinary circumstances. Dara was scheduled to swim in the 100-meter and 50-meter freestyle races at this competition; however, due to a flareup of bronchitis, she didn't think she had the stamina to swim the 100 and opted instead for the less-stamina-demanding 50 butterfly.

Having not planned on swimming this event and not having trained for it, Dara surprised herself and everyone knowledgeable of the sport, when she swam the 50 fly in the morning preliminaries in a new American Record, 25.84 seconds. This time easily beat Jenny Thompson's six-year-old record of 26 flat. Then in the finals that evening, she reset the record, with a blistering 25.72. Think about it. An American Record that the top young American swimmers couldn't topple in six years of trying, is smashed by 28 hundreds of a second (a huge amount of improvement for a sprint event) by an ancient (by elite swimming standards) 42-year-old masters swimmer.

What makes this all the more astounding are some of the surrounding circumstances:

* First, according to Dara, she hadn't "swum a lick of fly since the 2000 Olympics!!"

* Dara's training had been compromised by her criss-crossing of the country to promote her book, Age is Just a Number, which was just released in April

* She's raising a three-year-old daughter

In the months since the Olympics, Dara's had surgery on her right shoulder, left knee and left thumb -- all of which have required time for recovery

* During this meet, her left knee was sore and swollen and she's talking about needing more surgery on it after the World Championships this summer

Dara says that she will continue to compete as long as she is improving, and she does believe that she is "still improving" and that she hasn't reached her peak yet. If a woman in her forties can not only compete with America's best young swimmers, but outperform them and set new American Records in the process, and if that woman in her forties is still getting faster AND is likely to get even faster/better, what does this say about aging?

Whether we're interested in competitive swimming or not -- whether we care a lick about sports competitions of any kind or not -- these performances are important to us! Dara's age-defying swimming feats are important to ALL OF US because they challenge the self-limiting, self-destructive beliefs about aging that we all have to one degree or another and open the way for us to latch onto ever more empowering beliefs if we will but pay attention. Dara is BACK for more. The quintessential question is: Are we paying attention?

Author's Bio: 

Ed Mayhew is a leading authority on slowing and reversing aging. He studies and researches men and women, 40 and better, such as swimmer Dara Torres, who are redefining what it means to age. Then, he shares what he learns about how they are able to reclaim energy levels and the lean, athletic bodies of much younger adults and how you can, too! Ed's books and CDs include: Fitter After 50, AGE BLASTERS: 3 Steps to a Younger You, and Running WELL Past 40 (CD). Visit him at: and and ask for your free Fitter After 50 e-newsletter