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He spoke to her sternly: "This is where you've got to make yourself do it." But then he winked. "Better die now than, uh, later, right?"
After the second 125, Schubert told her, "Over the first 50 your kick was terrific. But in the second 50 it broke a little. Now I want you to attack the walls better. You stopped kicking going into them, and that slowed you down at both turns."
He was quiet during Torres's next few sprints. Finally, after the third 75, he was beaming. He said, "The last 25 of that one was perfect."
Torres didn't seem thrilled. "That's because I went out slowly," she said.
"Well, don't go out slowly," he said.
Back and forth they went, Schubert cajoling, Torres seeming a bit cranky. He said to a friend, "We have to judge how much endurance stuff we can do without getting her overtired. With distance kids, we want them to be tired. But with Dara, we don't want to ever enter the Valley of Fatigue. That's when training gets negative for her."
In January, at the U.S. Swimming International meet, Torres had contributed a 56-second 100-meter freestyle to the 400-medley relay, a personal best by .56. Schubert, a careful man, not given to hyperbole, had told Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times, "We're thinking of winning the hundred in Los Angeles."
But Torres has never made a Pan-Am or world championship team in an individual event, let alone the U.S. Olympic team. Assuming she does make it at the trials, she'll have to face Verstappen and her compatriot Conny Van Bentum, in the Olympics, and Torres's best 100 time is still far from the 54.79 world record held by East Germany's Barbara Krause. So now, at USC, when Schubert was asked, "How fast can Dara go?" he didn't answer right away. Finally, he said, "I think Dara has the potential of swimming the hundred free in fifty-four seconds."