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It is always fascinating to me how swimmers can be built differently but still be successful in the pool.

it is also fascinating to me how amazing an athlete Dara Torres is at the age she is (of course Michael deserves praise as well for being such a golf medal piggy – seriously Michael – let some of the other boys have a turn at the podium! Sharing is caring, I always say).

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Take a look at this video to see both athletes showering side by side (with suits on! trying to run a family blogpost here)

Make sure you pause it at 0.29. Then look again at 0.36 and do the comparison between both of these world class athletes.


You tell me who has more muscle. I think it looks almost equal, but not having the flipperlike arms and feet of Phelps, Dara definitely has more muscle and makes Michael look kind of streamlined and Dara a bit more athletic.

Of course, with 8 gold medals (and that’s just this Olympics!), who can fault him if he is a bit more lean in the physique department? Now if I could just figure out how to get a 7 foot wingspan on a 6’3″ body…

What do you think? I had to watch the video four or five times, but I honestly think she has the edge.

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How about you? Does Dara have more muscle than Michael?

She still looks amazing of course – her lat and rhomboid musculature could be the very reason that backless dresses were invented.

Speaking of Backless dresses:

Swimming and Boxing obviously are both great for the back muscles

Heres to two amazing athletes (and to the amazing bodies that swimming built!)

Jamie Atlas

PS How about this amazing shot of Hilary Swank at the 05 Oscars? Maybe I should have made this post “the battle of the backs: Dara vs Hilary”

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  • […] Dara Torres outmuscles Michael Phelps […]

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  • Fit Bottomed Girls Aug 18, 2008 Reply

    I agree that Dara seems to be a bit more ripped…However, and oddly enough, I think she’s more “normal” than him. I swear he’s 1/2 fish. I just keep waiting for gills to pop out out of his neck!

  • nearlynormalized Aug 18, 2008 Reply

    I dont’t know about more–distributed differently–both look good and I would not kick either of them out of bed.

  • Strong One Aug 19, 2008 Reply

    I agree… by pure physique standards, Dara blows him and most individuals out of the water.
    But results also speak for themselves… 8/8 in 08. Damn.
    I think I have a private man-crush on good ole’ Phelps.

  • X Jan 1, 2009 Reply

    Wow is all I can say. What a motivator Dara is. Thanks for the inspiring video Jamie.


  • […] first collected Added 21 Oct 08 from Flag as inappropriate or […]

  • Jon Turner Mar 29, 2009 Reply

    No doubt, Dara definitely has a better body than Phelps. He is a little bigger than her which is to be expected in a male/female comparison. But look closely as the muscle and development of the two. I say Dara wins in a landslide! Go Dara Torres! Jon

  • oscar Oct 23, 2009 Reply

    Cool article but most athletes are in great if not in perfect shape. One of the down fall is that they only in shape for the sports they practice, and why wouldn’t they that is their career.

  • jamieatlas Oct 23, 2009 Reply

    Great point Oscar – it it still amazing how a guy standing next to a girl almost half his size is completely dwarfed (at least back-width wise) by Dara? I mean, that is some amazing athleticism.

    I do agree, these athletes get in shape for one sport and one sport aone. I’m sure I could take Dara at a game of Hoops and Michael at a game of ‘who has more normal genes’. It makes you wonder what it might be like if they were to suddenly try to switch careers last second a la lance armstrong bike – run – back to bike.

  • Zack Oct 25, 2009 Reply

    he has more fat, not less muscle. She’s cut to the bone in terms of having no fat. When young you can train without losing all your subcutaneous fat, actually an advantage for a swimmer as it helps you float, but to be a world class athlete at 40+ you have to work so much harder to improve. People confuse this most in terms of abs; abs that show off well aren’t more bulky, there’s just less fat there.

    • jamieatlas Oct 25, 2009 Reply

      Good point Zack – I especially agree with your less fat = better abs statement. Thanks for the comment!

  • Footsizer Nov 21, 2009 Reply

    Michael’s biceps are substantially bigger, and he would defeat Dara armwrestling in a couple of seconds.

    He also has much more all-around muscle, but it’s hidden. He’s way bigger and heavier, and could sit on her no problem.

    • Footsizer Nov 21, 2009 Reply

      Check the clip at 0:13 to see how tiny Dara looks next to Michael.

  • perry Aug 17, 2010 Reply

    Don,t forget she is 41 and he has only 23. in bodybuilding female bb in their 40 are normaly more fit and muscular than boy in their 20. that why dara has superior body than michael

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