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When DARA TORRES (third from left) won her first Olympic gold medal—in Los Angeles in 1984—26 of the 42 members of this year's swim team hadn't been born. No wonder 23-year-old MICHAEL PHELPS (page 68) calls Torres his "sort-of mom." On a team full of prodigies Torres, 41, who came out of retirement after having a daughter two years ago and undergoing shoulder and knee surgeries in the last year, could be the story of the Games; in her fifth Olympics she'll likely add to her career haul of nine medals. NATALIE COUGHLIN (far right), who broke the 100-meter world backstroke record at the trials in Omaha, tied a record at the 2004 Games with five medals (two of them gold)—a total that could be eclipsed by KATIE HOFF (fourth from right), who will swim six events in Beijing. Another backstroke ace is MARGARET HOELZER (third from right), the reigning 200-meter world champ and world-record holder. Beyond Phelps, the men's team is deep and experienced. In Athens, AARON PIERSOL (fourth from left) won three gold medals, while RYAN LOCHTE (second from left) took a relay gold and an individual silver. Then there are newcomers GARRETT WEBER-GALE (far left), 22, a surprise winner of the 50- and 100-meter freestyles at the trials, and CULLEN JONES (second from right), a Bronx native who set a U.S. 50-meter free record in Omaha. Jones is just the second African-American swimmer to qualify for an Olympic individual event.
Mary Beth Dunnichay, diving, 15. Dunnichay (pronounced DUN-ih-kay), born Feb. 25, 1993, is five months younger than runner-up Haley Ishimatsu, with whom she'll dive in synchronized platform. Together the two are as old as gold-medalist teammate Laura Wilkinson, 30.
John Dane III, sailing, 58. A first-time Olympian after 40 years of trying, Dane will race in the Star class with his 30-year-old son-in-law, Austin Sperry. Dane, the CEO of New Orleans--based Trinity Yachts, had his house and much of his shipbuilding business destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina but rebuilt both. The oldest woman is pistol shooter Libby Callahan, 56, a former Washington, D.C., police sergeant. Callahan, who'll be in her fourth Games, is the oldest woman in any sport ever to make a U.S. Olympic team.
Shawn Johnson (opposite), gymnastics, 4'8"—an inch and a half shorter than Mary Lou Retton was in 1984.
Dwight Howard, basketball, 6'11", an inch taller than teammate Chris Bosh. Fellow hoopster Sylvia Fowles tops the women at 6'6", edging four-time Olympian Lisa Leslie by an inch.