Splash - May/June 2012 - (Page 30)

JANEt EvANs ReTuRN by Mike Watkins enGAGeMent The Approaching Olympic Trials Brings Back Veteran Swimmers Hungry For More by Kelsey Savage Hays W hile raising a family over the past decade, Janet Evans didn’t have much time to think about her life without swimming. Even after embracing life-changing roles as wife and mother since leaving the sport in the prime of her career in 1996, Evans said she always felt a kinship with swimming. With her kids being older and more independent, she said she knew it was time to do something for Janet. Back in the water and thoroughly enjoying training for this summer’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Evans said she knows regardless of what happens in Omaha, she will always be glad she came back to the sport that has meant so much to her over the years. “I returned to swimming because it’s in my soul. I missed it and I needed it,” said Evans, a four-time Olympic gold medalist who competed at the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games. “It makes me feel kind of complete. I like motivating others, and my main reason for making a comeback is to show other middle-aged women that it is possible to pursue a life’s passion, even after taking time off to raise a family and achieve other goals.” Now deep into her training to compete in the distance freestyle events at Trials, Evans said she is optimistic but realistic about her chances to make the Olympic Team. “I’m more focused on the process this time around – it’s all about the journey,” she said. UNFiNisHED bUsiNEss Evans isn’t the only former Olympic gold medalist to return to the sport this year for another shot at Olympic glory. Anthony Ervin, gold medalist in the 50m freestyle and silver medalist in the 400m free relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympics; Ed Moses, gold medalist in the 400m medley relay and silver medalist in the 100m breaststroke at the same Olympics; and Brendan Hansen, who retired after winning relay gold and setting a world record at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, have all returned within the past 18 months for their shot at making the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team headed to London. But what drives an athlete who has already accomplished so much to return for more, especially after being away for many years, even decades? According to sports psychologist Jack Starks, these highly successful, highly competitive athletes’ desire to return are tied to four traits: the desire for competition, the need to reconnect emotionally and socially, branding or financial gain, and the need to prove to themselves that they can still do it. “Bottom line is they really miss the competition, no matter how much success they had in other parts of their lives,” said Starks, who has worked with a variety of high school, college and professional athletes. “When an athlete is someone who has experienced a tremendous amount of success and then he or she leaves for something else, there is a sense of ‘what if?’ and also the question of ‘who am I?’ without this sport where I had so much success.” 30 splAsH • May/June 2012 • The TRIALS ISSue

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Splash - May/June 2012

Splash - May/June 2012
Contents
About Trials...
Mike Gustafson
Swim Briefs/Justin Case
Top Ten Tweets/Point-Counterpoint
Keys to Success
Training With
Athletic Foodie
Olympic Trials Preview
The Swimmers
Rank & File
Third Is No Charm
Repeat Performance
Trials Pressures
Behind the Scenes
The Venue
Alex Meyer
Making the Team
Interactive
Swim Nut Zeke
Ultimate Pump-Up Song
Best Race Ever
America’s Swim Team Athletes

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