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The Olympic champion, on her decision to compete against swimmers half her age
The irresistibly upbeat three-time Olympian and four-time gold medalist talks the way she swims: fast, and at great length. “This is not our ‘comeback’—it’s our ‘project,’ ” says Evans, who left competitive swimming after the ’96 Atlanta Games. “Do I need to swim in the London Games? No. I just wanted to make it to trials, and I did.” The Laguna Beach mother of two, whose world records at 400 and 800 meters stood as long as 18 years, hopes to snag a spot on the 2012 U.S. team in June. “I still do 10 miles a day, but there’s more focus on speed.”
“After Atlanta, I wanted to see the world, get married, have a family—all those things were more important to me than swimming.”
“I weigh about 15 pounds less than I did at the end of my first swimming career. I couldn’t tell you why. I had my babies and my weight settled right where it is: 112 pounds.”
“I said to my mom, ‘In six months, this will all be over,’ and she said, ‘You should really think about the ’13 World Championships,’ and I go, ‘Why?’ and she says, ‘Cuz I wanna watch the grandkids.’ ”
“When I swim I don’t feel like I’m 40. I feel like I’m 40 when I lie down at night and go to bed.”
“It got to a point in my life where, as a mom and a woman and turning 40, I thought: ‘I want to do something again for myself.’ ”
“I have a trainer, a physical therapist, my coach [Mark Schubert], and my husband. We call it ‘Team Janet.’ ”
By Paul Loop / Photography by Rich Cruse
This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Orange Coast magazine.