Lara Jackson sets American record in 50 free

/ Source: The Associated Press

Dara Torres was back in the pool at the U.S. Olympic trials Saturday, easily advancing out of the 50-meter freestyle preliminaries but seeing Lara Jackson break her American record in the event.

The 41-year-old Torres was the third-fastest qualifier, finishing second in her heat to Jackson, who touched in 24.50 seconds. That broke the old mark of 24.53 set by Torres at last summer's U.S. nationals in Indianapolis.

Torres swam a 24.72, hours after making an improbable fifth Olympic team by winning the 100 free Friday night.

"That was a pretty easy swim for me, so I'm pretty happy with my time,'' she said.

Jackson, a 21-year-old from El Paso, Texas, surprised herself by going six-tenths below her previous best.

"I'm shocked,'' she said. "It's awesome. But it's not about what you do in the prelims and semis. I've got to do it in the finals and make the team.''

Jackson raced in a lane next to Torres, whose large goggles are older than most of her competitors.

"She's an awesome swimmer. To race next to her is an honor,'' Jackson said. "I read a quote from her where she said, 'At this level, it's all about racing.' She's right on about that.''

Torres was still relishing her historic win the previous night.

"Obviously, I'm pretty excited right now,'' she said. "I don't think it's really sunk in yet.''

Jessica Hardy was second-fastest in the prelims in 24.63, followed by Lacey Nymeyer and Kara Lynn Joyce.

"That's a best time. I did a Jacuzzi warmup (sitting in the hot tub),'' Hardy said. "I was half-asleep this morning. I wasn't expecting that time. I'm very surprised.''

Among those failing to advance were 2004 Olympians Dana Vollmer (25th) and Amanda Weir (27th), who made the final four years ago at trials.

Erik Vendt, Larsen Jensen and Peter Vanderkaay were set to swim the grueling 1,500 freestyle preliminaries later Saturday.