Dara earned silver in all three of her races in Beijing, earning her 12 career medals beginning as a 17-year-old at the 1984 Olympics in her hometown of LA. Torres and swimmer Jenny Thompson are tied for most medals ever won by an American woman. Dara Torres, 41, became the oldest swimming athlete to metal in Olympic history on Sunday. She has retired twice from swimming and has a 2-year-old daughter, but keeps coming back to the pool. "If it helps anyone else out there who is in their middle aged years, and they put off something they thought they couldn't do because they were too old or maybe thought that because they have children they can't balance what they want to do and be a parent, then I'm absolutely thrilled," she said. But, is she Hispanic? Yes, she is - Torres was born in Jupiter, Florida, the daughter of Edward Torres and Marylu Kauder. She grew up in Beverly Hills, California the fifth of six children and the older of two girls. At age 7, Torres started following her brothers to swim practice at the local Y.M.C.A. and later joined the Culver City swim team. During her junior year in high school, Torres moved to Mission Viejo, Calif., to train for the 1984 Olympics. Torres started attending the University of Florida in 1985. At Florida, Torres earned 28 N.C.A.A. all-American swimming awards, the maximum number possible during a college career. In the mid-1990s, she married and subsequently divorced sports producer Jeff Gowen. Her second husband was Israeli-born surgeon Itzhak Shasha, whom she later divorced. Prior to marrying Shasha, Torres officially converted to Judaism. Her late father was of Sephardic Jewish descent. Torres and her partner, David Hoffman, a reproductive endocrinologist, have a daughter named Tessa Grace, born in April, 2006.