Good sportsmanship shapes the culture of sport by … It really makes or breaks it for an athlete. It’s kind of like school, where a teacher can make or break it for a subject for a student. It’s the same. If you want to be surrounded with the positive role models and teammates and coaches, that can make it for an athlete.
I try every single morning to go to practice with a smile on my face. I really love what I get to do, and that makes it for me. Especially since we’re on the elite level, a lot of people are watching us, it’s a big deal of how we portray ourselves. Even though you get out of the water at the Olympics and it’s not a swim you wanted, you have to get out of the stage in the next 30 seconds and you can choose to give the gold medalist a high five and a hug, or just run.
So on our national team, we have five minutes to celebrate by yourself, mourn by yourself, and then you’re expected to be back with the team. It really just gives the athlete five minutes to themselves of what they need, but then after that five minutes they know where the expectations are.