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Dara Torres helps rival swimmer, then easily advances to final

August 15, 2008 | 10:37 pm

Dara Torres at end of her women's 50-meter freestyle semifinal Saturday.

BEIJING -- Dara Torres survived some pre-race drama when she tried to help one of her competitors, Therese Alshammar of Sweden, who suffered an equipment malfunction before their semifinal of the 50-meter freestyle.

Torres, 41, was the fastest qualifier for Sunday's final, going 24.27 seconds. Sixteen-year-old Cate Campbell of Australia and Britta Steffen of Germany were second and third, respectively.

"Therese's suit ripped when we were getting ready to walk out," Torres said. "I tried to help her with it, tried to do it up, and it ripped again. So I walked out and was trying to get them to hold the race for her. I was saying, 'Her suit's ripped.' And waving my arms around."

Needless to say, Alshammar didn't make the top eight for the final, finishing in 14th place.

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Dara Torres at the end of the women's 50-meter freestyle semifinal Saturday. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press