Three-time Olympian Janet Evans won't be disappointed if she doesn't qualify for the London Olympic team, she told USA Today.
In fact, the 40-year-old swimmer already calls her comeback a success, Evans told the newspaper. Her goal was to qualify for the Olympic trials, and she's done that in two events.
"I think (the comeback has) already been a success," Evans told USA Today in a phone interview Tuesday. "I wanted to qualify for trials. People said to me, 'Are you going to be devastated if you don't make the Olympic team?' It's like, um, no. I have this awesome family to come home to, and I don't think it affects what I've done in the past.
She added: "For me I'd love to do some best times. I'd love to swim faster than I have over these past two years and maybe make it into the finals. You never know, so we'll see."
Evans first competed at the Olympic Games in 1988, where she won gold in the 400- and 800-meter freestyle events, as well as the 400-meter individual medley. Four years later, Evans returned for the 1992 Olympic Games and defended her title in the 800 freestyle while earning silver in the 400 freestyle. During her career, Evans set world records in the 400, 800 and 1500-meter freestyles, each of which stood for more than 15 years.
Evans also swam at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, though she did not earn a medal there. She was honored in another way, though, when she carried the Olympic flame into the Olympic stadium in Atlanta and handed it off to Muhammad Ali, who eventually lit the Olympic cauldron.
After the 1996 Games, Evans retired and worked as a motivational speaker, acted as a spokeswoman and hosted swim clinics. She transitioned to life after swimming and started her family. She's now the mother of two young children.
In June of 2011, Evans announced that she would return to competition in an effort to qualify for the Olympic Trials. In January of 2012, Evans swam the 400 and 800 freestyles at the Austin Grand Prix, where she qualified for the trials in both events.
Next, Evans is expected to compete at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., at the end of June. She'll have to drop many seconds in order to place in the top two and qualify for the London Olympic Games. Evans knows it's a long shot, but for her, that's OK.
After all, her comeback is about the journey rather than the end result.
Read more from this author about Janet Evans: Female Role Model - American Swimmer Janet Evans
Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She is a longtime Olympic fan, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46.