In the last few months, several news stories have been published about Janet’s comeback. But it was still surreal to be up at 4:30 a.m. standing by a pool and watching Janet walk in for her 5 a.m. practice last week. We looked at each other and immediately started giggling. We were both thinking, can you believe we are back at a pool together…giggling because for just a second, we were 17 again. Was Barcelona really 19 years ago?...
I can honestly say I couldn’t do it, attempt to make an Olympic Trials again at this stage in my life. I tried in ’96, and my heart just wasn’t in it. You have to both love the sport and have the desire to be at that level. You have to be able to give 100% mentally and physically. You have to be able to flip the switch in your life, and Janet just can. We’re both very satisfied with our Olympic experiences (she has a few more than I do), but it’s the desire to be in the water, competing that’s the difference.
"You can't really take away my competitive spirit," she said. "If I do this, I want to do it well. Over the last few months, I've seen I can manage my life and my schedule while doing this. It has fulfilled my expectations on every level. I feel like I can be back in the game." – Janet quoted from an AP story in USA Today.
Don’t think that just because she’s getting back into Olympic form, that it takes anything away from her home life. Janet is a mom first! During her "dry-land" workout, her blackberry was never far away. No matter what, she answers whenever "HOME" calls. She says the time and focus at the pool actually make her a better mother. How awesome. And you could tell…she was definitely itching to get her afternoon workout wrapped up so she could go home and squeeze her little ones.
Janet is truly amazing. When we met to do the Yahoo!Sports interview at what she calls "their little beach cottage." I called it PERFECT with dark floors and elegant, cozy furniture. They were doing a little work on the place, so like any mom, Janet was multitasking, juggling our interview with construction workers and her kids. It was great to be with in her home, watching her daughter being a “big helper” and seeing her son give fantastic hugs.
It’s inspiring, as a former elite athlete and a mother, to see Janet make this journey. And it’s even more refreshing to see that she is 100% doing this for fun and with a tremendous love for the sport. She genuinely loves to swim, but it is not her life. Her family comes first, and that was very apparent to me when even after her day, she made time for date night with her hubby.
Click here to see her episode of Yahoo!Sports Elite Athlete Workouts.