“Go for it!” no matter your age. That was 12-time medalist and Olympic swimmer Dara Torres’ message at the YMCA’s 17th Inspiration Breakfast.
“I grew up in Beverly Hills and the Y was where I learned to swim,” she said at Office Depot Global Headquarters on Ash Wednesday.
A sold-out crowd of 500 heard Torres share her reasons for making four comebacks after initial wins in her teens. “In 1992 at 25 they called me the grandma,” she said.
She won medals at 33 and had to relearn her stroke in Coral Springs. She came within one 100th of a second for gold at the 2008 Olympics. At 41, that made her the oldest swimmer to compete.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be swimming in my 40s,” she said, on crutches after a leg injury on ice in Massachusetts. “If Jack Nicklaus could win the Masters at 46…I kept that in my head. Once I decide to do it, I give it my all.”
After her speech, Torres lead the group fundraiser to fund the Y’s water safety programs.
Rotary Downtown Boca Raton offered a $20,000 match. And Club president Michael Walstrom was among supporters who applauded the totals.
The Y raised $42,255, more than $26,000 that morning, announced Jason Hagensick, president and CEO, YMCA of South Palm Beach County. That covers the Peter Blum Family YMCA of Boca Raton and the Devos-Blum Family YMCA in Boynton Beach.
“The Y is much more than a gym,” said Jason Aube, market president for presenting sponsor BB&T.
“This year, close to 70,000 people will come through our doors,” said twice chairwoman Rosie-Inguanzo Martin. The 2020 chairman will be Office Depot’s Alex Price.
By Marci Shatzman