Tessa makes me laugh when ... we leave the pool. She's addicted to the water. She cries and I think, "I created a monster"; she's a mini-me.
My struggle with bulimia began ... when I was in college. I did it trying to make weight. Instead of bingeing, it was more like purging what normal people ate. I did it after meals—in private, in the dorm bathroom, three or four times a week. It took five years to get over it. I had it when I swam in the '88 games and I had no energy. I was ranked No. 1 in the world in the 100 free and I came in seventh. When I decided to train for '92, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it if I were bulimic. I was going to a psychiatrist for it, but I stopped cold turkey and was able to get over it.
I attribute my high pain threshold to ... I don't think I have a high threshold for pain—I was the biggest wimp in the world when I was having a kid. But if I know the work will help my body, like when my stretchers stand on my quads and mash them, I take it when others would be jumping out of their skin.
My answer to critics who say I'm using performance-enhancing drugs ... I knew this would be coming, so I took a proactive approach. I volunteered to enter a trial doping program administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and I asked if I could be an open book to prove I'm clean. I have done 13 blood tests since March. Why would I volunteer if I were cheating?
When one of my four brothers calls to wish my mother happy birthday first ... It bothers me a little. I'm competitive and I hate to lose. I always want to be first. I say, "Mom, am I the first one to call?"
Training for the Olympics with teenagers ... is fun. It's cute to see these kids; they're young enough to be my kids.
I feel my age when ... I walk into practice and have no idea what song is playing on the iPod machine. The kids are all singing and dancing to hip hop on the pool deck, and I want to put on my classic rock.
Tessa's dad, my partner of four years David Hoffman [a reproductive endocrinologist who lives with Torres in Parkland, Fla.], helps by ... watching Tessa when I compete. When he takes care of her at the pool, I don't have to stress out about her; she's 2 and runs all over the place.
After the Olympics ... He definitely will be glad when it's over.
I swim for ... my daughter Tessa. She motivates me because I want her to be proud of me when she gets older, and I'd like her to know that you don't have to put an age limit on your dreams.