09/21/2007 at 12:00 PM EDT
When it came to exercising while she was pregnant with daughter Sydney, four-time Olympic gold medalist Janet Evans did what came naturally: She got in the swimming pool.
"I swam throughout my pregnancy and basically 10 days after she was born," Evans, 36, told PEOPLE at the 22nd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner in New York City last week. "Swimming throughout the pregnancy really kept me fit and made it easier. And my OB said it was the best thing that I could do."
Even while expecting, Evans couldn't quite shake her competitive spirit, which worried her husband of three years, Billy Wilson.
"He got mad at me because I was racing little kids in the pool," Evans said. "You're not supposed to get your heart rate up after you have a baby. I'd be racing little 10-year-olds and saying, 'They can't beat me. I'm an Olympian.' He'd say, 'Please, take care of our daughter.' "
Ten months after giving birth, Evans arrived at the fund raiser in a flattering print Tocca dress – determined to make an impression.
"I'd be disappointing all of the Olympians if I didn't look good after having a little one," she said.
Other athletes honored at the event, which raised $6 million for The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, included Earvin "Magic" Johnson, John Elway, Kelly Slater and Mark Messier.