OMAHA — Dara Torres lingered in the water after the other swimmers had climbed out of the pool.
Her long career was finally over.
She wanted to soak up the moment as long as possible.
The 45-year-old Torres came up short in her bid to make it to the Olympics for a sixth time. She finished fourth in the final of the 50-meter freestyle Monday night, her only event at the US swimming trials.
‘‘This is really over,’’ Torres said. ‘‘That’s it. I'm going to enjoy some time with my daughter, have a nice summer and cheer on the US team.’’
After winning three silver medals at the Beijing Olympics, Torres underwent radical knee surgery and put all her hopes into a chaotic dash from one end of the pool to the other. But Jessica Hardy won in 24.50 seconds, while Kara Lynn Joyce took the other Olympic spot in 24.73.
‘‘Obviously I was hoping to make the team,’’ Torres said. ‘‘That was my goal and missing it by less than a tenth of a second is tough.”
Finishing in 24.82, Torres also touched behind Christine Magnuson (24.78). Torres smiled when she saw her time and hugged both Hardy and Joyce.
Torres said she had the same nervous anticipation before her last race as she did at her first US trials in 1984, when she earned a spot in the Los Angeles Games.
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Michael Phelps dropped the 200-meter freestyle from his Olympic program, giving him only seven events in London, his longtime coach Bob Bowman announced.