After winning three silver medals in Beijing, Olympic swimmer Dara Torres has mastered another daunting challenge: walking the runway at New York Fashion Week.

The 41-year-old modeled two looks for the Sunday afternoon presentation of Charles Nolan's spring collection at the designer's Chelsea studio.

Torres, a 12-time Olympic medalist, made her catwalk debut in a blue-and-white striped tank top and navy swim shorts while carrying her 2-year-old daughter, Tessa, who clung to her mother as people clapped and cameras snapped photos.

Torres' short haircut was styled in 1920-style waves, which enhanced the drama of her next look: a black jersey and silk taffeta wrap dress.

Backstage in pants and a T-shirt after the show, Torres recalled: "There was a girl (modeling) who said that she was really nervous and I said, `Swimming in the Olympics is much more nerve-wracking!'"

Torres said she did worry, however, that she might stumble on the runway like Carrie Bradshaw did in "Sex and the City."

"I'm not used to wearing heels," she explained. "I wear flats and flip-flops all the time."

Torres has been making numerous TV appearances and speeches in the post-Olympics publicity blitz, and plans to "get back in the water and swim some" starting next month.

She said Tessa enjoyed modeling with mom.

"She was not into walking alone with me out there, but as long as I held her she was fine," she said. "She was backstage dancing around with all the models and stuff and having fun."

Nolan _ who presented chic and wearable clothing for women including a lime green drop-waist dress and a striped boatneck top with cropped trousers _ said Torres was a perfect fit to show off his designs.

"I was so inspired by her," he said. "It's one thing to look great at 41 _ it's another thing to be able to make the Olympic team competing against 16-year-olds, and then win a silver medal!"

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