Swimmer Dara Torres won 12 Olympic medals over a nearly 25-year span from age 17 to 41.
But success in the pool early on in her career hid struggles with a serious eating disorder. Torres talks about that in-depth for the first time in a documentary that airs on the SEC Network on Monday called “Once Upon A Comeback.”
As a swimmer at the University of Florida during the ‘80s, Torres says she faced pressure from coaches, particularly Randy Reese, to lose weight. At the time, the coaches didn’t know a lot about eating disorders, she says.
One coach wanted the team to look intimidating to competitors on the starting blocks and set a weight goal for the swimmers to meet, she says. If someone didn’t make weight, they had to do extra workouts.
“For me personally, having come from a background where I’ve never trained like that before in my life, to have to do extra workouts was just, that wasn’t going to happen for me,” she says. “And one thing led to another. I sort of got in this habit of bingeing and purging in my freshman year, and that’s kind of how it all started and just sort of snowballed from there.”See WBUR