?Everyone has their own role and plays their part. As a swimmer, I stand on the block on my own. But I have to have the right team behind me to perform at my best: my coach; team manager; physio; training partners; family. Teams only work when they pull together.
“Talent alone is not enough. You need discipline. It’s no coincidence that the people who work harder achieve more! I raced and trained with many people over the years who were more talented than me but I trained harder and wanted it more. Have realistic short-term and long-term goals and stay focused on them.
“There are elements of everyone’s job that they don’t like. For me, it was the 5am starts! Diving into freezing cold water and swimming 10km isn’t fun, but I knew I had to do it to get results. The thing I love, the thing that motivates me, is representing my country and standing on top of the podium.
No-one wins all the time. And that includes Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps! If you don’t have a go, you?ll never know what you’re capable of. Don?t be one of those people who says: “I didn?t try because I?m scared of failing?. Do your best and give it 100 per cent.
“Money changes everyone. Sport used to be my hobby. But when it’s your career, you need to earn a living. I didn?t retire until I was 38. That’s late in the world of swimming. I agree with performance pay. The better you perform, the more you should make. We all need incentives.