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Fourth-Place Medal

Dara Torres, 45, narrowly misses Olympic team

Fourth-Place Medal

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(Getty Images)

Dara Torres, the 45-year-old swimmer who began her Olympic career in 1984, fell short in her bid to compete in a sixth Summer Games, touching fourth in the 50 free at the U.S. trials in Omaha.

She finished 0.09 seconds out of the needed second-place finish in a field that featured no woman who had been alive when Torres first dove into an Olympic pool. From wall to wall, Torres swam faster than the field, but she was felled by a slow start and tired finish, the possible result of three swims in two days.

[ Related: Painful night for Olympic favorite, Nastia Liukin ]

Torres won a gold medal in Los Angeles as part of the 4x100 meter relay and followed it up with trips to the podium in 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008. She sat out the 1996 and 2004 Olympics.

"I can leave this knowing I gave it everything I possibly could," Torres told NBC later Monday. "That's the best I could do."

[ Photos: Photographer slammed for odd Olympic portraits ]

When she got out of the pool for what she's said will be the final time in her Olympic career, Torres walked to the stands and called down her 6-year-old daughter, Tessa. Mother and daughter walked off the deck arm-in-arm. Dara said Tessa was excited about going to London but has assured her that they'll still make a trip soon.

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