The arm chair scientist in me suspects that the reason why Dara Torres gets stronger and stronger as she ages is that she is developing more testosterone in her body than the average female. Yes females have testosterone!
Science Daily has published an overview of an article written by a Stanford School of Medicine bioethicist and her colleagues.
From Science Daily:
"... Proposed Olympic policies for testing the testosterone levels of select female athletes could discriminate against women who may not meet traditional notions of femininity and distort the scientific evidence on the relationship between testosterone, sex and athletic performance, says a Stanford University School of Medicine bioethicist and her colleagues. ..."
Here is a a great quote from the authors of the study for that masters swimmer or the triathlete who loves their sport but finishes at the bottom third of the pack:
"There are many biological reasons some athletes are better than others," the authors write, pointing to several runners and cyclists who have rare mitochondrial variations that give them extraordinary aerobic capacity, or basketball players who have acromegaly, a hormonal condition that results in exceptionally large hands and feet. Such biological differences don't cause them to be banned from competition, they write.
"It bears noting that athletes never begin on a fair playing field; if they were not exceptional in one regard or another they would not have made it to a prestigious international athletic stage," the authors note.