That was, she acknowledges, easier said than done.
Hoff came home, dusted herself off and went back to work, her eye on the 2005 world championships in Montreal. When the time came, she responded, setting a world record in the 400 IM and winning the 200 IM and a relay gold medal.
"I proved I wasn't a fluke," she says. "I proved I belonged."
At the 2007 world championships in Melbourne, Australia, Hoff put more distance between herself and her first Olympic experience, setting another world record in the 400 IM and picking up gold medals in the 200 IM and the 4 x 200-meter freestyle.
Despite all her daughter's success, says Jeanne Hoff, "Athens will always follow her because it's an amazing story to see someone totally collapse and then make it to the top."
Competing with herselfWhat makes Hoff so good, says Yetter, is her relentless energy and competitiveness in practice.
"She's competitive with her best self," Yetter says. "You have to compete not only against your competitors but if you want to go a better time you have to compete against your best self."
She swims two practice sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and one on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Sunday, she swims for an hour, "and I don't really try hard," she says, looking sheepish.
Her dry land work consists of exercises to strengthen her core and arms and legs, and yoga and Pilates.
In Beijing, Hoff is expected to duel Australia's Stephanie Rice in the 200 and 400 IMs. Rice holds the world record in the 200 IM while Hoff and Rice have traded ownership of the world mark in the 400, with Hoff in control for now.
"My battle with Katie Hoff should be an epic," Rice wrote in her final blog entry until the Olympics ends.
The 200 IM battle will come on the same day as the final for the 200 freestyle, just like the Olympic trials.
"Katie Hoff is a stud for doing the 200 free-200 IM double," says Coughlin after finishing second to Hoff in the IM at trials. "I don't know any female swimmer who can do it so successfully."
Even Hoff is quick to say that the double was her personal highlight at the trials.
"I was proud to pull off the double," she says. "I wasn't sure I could do it. There was so much competition. I just wanted to finish the night in style."
Her final event - the 800 freestyle - comes on the final day of competition at the pool. Fellow American Kate Ziegler is favored, but twice this Grand Prix season Hoff has posted a better time.
"The main goal going in is a gold medal, but my thing is also versatility and if I can come away with medals in different strokes, different events I think that would also be a huge accomplishment and in my eyes would show that I could be up there with the best. Even if it's not a gold medal, of being able to say I'm a whatever-time Olympic medalist would also be cool to me too," she explains.
After Beijing, there's time for catching up on life, which, she says, "was pretty normal until I hit 15."