Ex-Cal star Hardy takes 50 free by besting Torres 

Sprint to the finish: Former Cal swimmer Jessica Hardy was all smiles after winning the mad-dash known as the 50-meter freestyle at the Olympic Trials on Monday. - ERIC FRANCIS/GETTY IMAGES
  • Eric Francis/Getty Images
  • Sprint to the finish: Former Cal swimmer Jessica Hardy was all smiles after winning the mad-dash known as the 50-meter freestyle at the Olympic Trials on Monday.

Dara Torres came up agonisingly short in her bid to make the United States swimming team for the London Olympics when she finished fourth in the 50-meter freestyle final on Monday, the last day of the national trials.

Former Cal swimmer Jessica Hardy won the event in 24.50 seconds to add the 50 title to her victory in the 100 freestyle earlier in the meet after she failed to qualify in her main event, the 100 breaststroke. Hardy will also swim the 4x100 free relay in London.

As for the 45-year-old mother Torres, who defied the odds for years by beating women much younger than her, she needed to finish in the top two to qualify for her sixth Olympics.

Torres faded on the last few strokes and could only get her hand on the wall fourth fastest, stopping the clock at 24.82 in a mad scramble where the eight finalists were separated by less than a second.

Kara Lynn Joyce finished second in 24.73 to grab the last spot in the women’s team on the final night of the trials in Omaha.

The last two places in the men’s team went to Andrew Gemmell and Connor Jaeger after they finished one-two in the 1500 freestyle, the longest and most gruelling event on the program. Stanford’s Chad La Tourette finished in third and just missed an Olympic spot.



Jeneba Tarmoh, who attended Mt. Pleasant High School in San Jose, did not participate in a scheduled 100-meter runoff Monday with fellow sprinter Allyson Felix to determine the final Olympic qualifying spot for the U.S. women’s team. Tarmoh was scheduled to run against Felix after the two women finished in a dead heat for third place in the U.S. Olympic trials last week in Eugene, Ore.

Several reports confirmed Monday afternoon that Tarmoh had pulled out of the race against her training partner. Felix already had qualified for the 200 after winning the event Saturday.

Tarmoh has contended since the running of the 100 nine days ago that she was third on the track, finishing behind Carmelita Jeter and runner-up Tianna Madison. It was announced at the time that Tarmoh had finished ahead of Felix.

But it was later determined — after Tarmoh had taken a victory lap with the top-two finishers — the race ended in a third-place tie at 11.068 seconds and there was no procedure in place to break a deadlock.



Michael Phelps is backing out of one of his individual events for the Olympics, dropping him to seven instead of eight in London later this month.

His coach, Bob Bowman, said Monday on Twitter that Phelps won’t try to duplicate his individual feat of eight golds in Beijing in 2008. Phelps will not swim the 200-meter freestyle after beating rival Ryan Lochte in that event at the Olympic trials last week.

Bowman said the decision will give Phelps added energy to participate on the three U.S. relay teams in the London Games.

— Reuters

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