Point/Counterpoint: Dara Torres helping a competitor

Immediately before the 50m freestyle semifinals this morning in Beijing, Dara Torres asked the meet referee to hold the race until Swedish swimmer Therese Alshammar was able to get into a new swimsuit. Alshammar's original suit tore in the ready room. Fourth-Place Medal debates the intentions of the 41-year old Torres.

Delaying the race for the Swedish swimmer was a motherly gesture

By Maggie Hendricks

Dara Torres has said that she doesn't like being called the mom by her fellow swimmers. What she did on the deck of the Water Cube before the semifinals of the 50m free was exactly the sort of thing a mom would do. Swedish swimmer Therese Alshammar tore her suit just moments before the swimmers were scheduled to take the blocks. As she ran off to fix the wardrobe malfunction, Torres told the other swimmers not to get on the blocks, and walked over to let the officials know about Alshammar's troubles. When Alshammar returned, Torres gave her a pat on the back. The women then climbed the blocks, and Torres turned in the fastest time of the race. It was just another day of swimming and mothering for Torres.

I guess I'm more cynical

By Chris Chase

Yes, that was a mother-like move by Torres. If your mom is a super-conniving, psych-out artist. When Alshammar's suit tore, Dara Torres saw an opportunity and leaped at it. By asking the referee to delay the race for the Swedish swimmer, Torres threw every other swimmer off their game, ruining their concentration seconds before the race was set to begin. I'm not suggesting that Torres is some sort of maniacal super-genius and planned this, and I do think she had good intentions in holding the race, but I also believe she knew that making a big production out of the situation would work to her benefit. At one point during the delay Torres told the swimmer next to her, Australia's Libby Trickett to "chill out". It was almost as if she knew she'd need to.

Photos via Getty Images

What to Read Next