By Francesca Merced

 When you think of summertime team sports, typically things like baseball, soccer or even track & field come to mind. But Olympic swimming champion Dara Torres is here to put everyone on notice that not only is swimming a terrific team sport, but it’s also “the funnest sport there is!”

Having spent the majority of her life in the sport, Dara Torres entered her first international swim competition at the tender age of 14, and competed in her first Summer Olympic Games a few years later in 1984.  Arguably the “fastest female swimmer in America,” Dara Torres competed in 5 Olympic Games and won 12 medals during her illustrious career.

5-time Olympian Dara Torres

Over the past several years, she has also established herself as a well-respected health and fitness advocate, and in her latest role as part of the summer-long SwimToday campaign, Dara is spreading her love of the sport to children and parents across the United States.

“Nearly 80 percent of parents overlook swimming when choosing organized sports activities for their children. Kids should learn how to swim for safety,” she explained. “Swimming also offers kids a chance to learn valuable lessons like time management, sacrifice, hard work, dedication, how to be competitive that they will be able to use in aspects of their lives beyond sports.”

Torres is also encouraging kids and parents to dive in to the sport of swimming because, as a team sport, swimming’s non-stop activity offers a uniquely collaborative and engaging experience typically not found in other team sports.

“As a parent, one of the saddest things is to go to your child’s Little League game and see him or her sitting on the sidelines,” she shared. “With swimming, every child is always participating.  In swim relays, you’re either actively swimming, or you’re cheering on your teammates. Either way, you are an active part of what’s happening.”

While Dara and the folks at SwimToday are hoping to spark great excitement about the sport of swimming, she’s also quick to advise beginners and those who may have a fear of the water to be safe and to start slowly.

“Beginners should definitely take lessons at club or your local YMCA,” she said. “Oftentimes with swimming people try too hard and try to muscle their way through the water.  But swimming is rhythmic sport.  It doesn’t have to be so hard. And the health benefits are numerous. It’s the best sport for your body and it can help keep kids out of trouble.

For more information about SwimToday, please visit: swimtoday.org

To learn more about Dara Torres, please visit her official website at daratorres.com


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