SEC Network will debut its latest SEC Storied documentary “Once Upon a Comeback,” the story of swimming sensation Dara Torres, on Monday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. ET. The film’s debut coincides with the SEC Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, with the women’s airing Sunday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. and the men’s airing Saturday, Feb. 27 at 11 a.m.
Dara Torres pushed boundaries for both her gender and age, breaking records and forging new paths for women. However, underneath the success was a relentless mounting pressure to look a certain way. A star swimmer at the University of Florida, Torres won nine SEC individual championships, was named SEC Athlete of the Year in 1988 and earned 28 All-American swimming honors – the maximum possible during a college career – all while living with a severe eating disorder. Bulimic during her time at Florida, Torres speaks about this experience on-camera for the first time in-depth. Her journey is not uncommon, just rarely talked about, and highlights the dangers of competing at the highest levels and pushing the limits, both physically and psychologically.
Torres would go on to win 12 Olympic medals over a 25-year span, participating in five Olympic Games. As a veteran swimmer and mother, her 2008 Olympic comeback is legendary, when at age 41, she became the oldest swimmer to win an Olympic medal. Now, she is an important role model for all collegiate and Olympic athletes, having navigated the difficult transition from elite athlete to a successful life after sport.
The film was directed by filmmaking duo Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters.
“We began our careers in sports television, Nancy at ABC Sports and me at NBC Sports, and followed Dara’s amazing journey through many National & World Swimming Championships and five Olympic games,” said Lax. “We are in awe of her accomplishments, especially in 2008 when she made her third Olympic comeback as a ‘working mom.’ She is a remarkable inspiration to all of us working moms. Being able to handle the pressure and juggle the responsibilities – and to do it all with such poise and perfection is fairytale-like.”
Collectively, Lax and Winters’ television and film productions have earned them 16 Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and multiple CASE, Christopher, Cine Golden Eagle, Davey, Gracie, International Monitor, Telly and Sabre Awards. After building illustrious careers at rival networks — Winters at ABC producing Wide World of Sports and directing soap operas — and Lax at NBC Sports directing, producing and managing the production of over 500 short films & profiles for the Atlanta, Sydney & Salt Lake City Olympic Games — they fulfilled a lifelong dream of working together by joining forces in 2002.
About SEC Storied
ESPN Films launched the SEC Storied documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the Southeastern Conference. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the series has featured films that focus on the SEC’s recent and more distant past, including one of the most-viewed documentaries in ESPN history, The Book of Manning. In 2015, SEC Storied received its first two Sports Emmy nominations for both “Outstanding Sports Documentary” and “Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics” with the film It’s Time: The Story of Brad Gaines and Chucky Mullins.
About SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN launched SEC Network on August 14, 2014. The network televises hundreds of games across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming includes in-depth analysis and storytelling in studio shows such as SEC Nation, Thinking Out Loud and Rally Cap, daily news and information with SEC Now, original content such as TrueSouth, SEC Storied and SEC Inside, and more. Hundreds of additional live events are available for streaming exclusively on SEC Network’s digital companion, SEC Network+, via the ESPN App and SECNetwork.com. The network is also available in more than 135 countries throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia via ESPN Player, ESPN’s sports streaming service in the region.