Over the past four years, I’ve faced a lot of adversity outside the pool.

I almost got used to having to overcome those challenges.

It wasn’t until 12 months ago, when things finally started to settle down, that I had the chance and time to properly evaluate where I was at, and whether I was happy with my overall swimming environment.

Upon reflection, I suppose I found I was stagnating, and as such I needed a change.

Those who know me well will tell you that I love being out of my comfort zone; I’ve always viewed change as a good thing. Change can really help challenge a person, and I’ve never been one to stay somewhere if I do not feel as though I can be 100% invested.

Enjoying what you do is so important in life.

Training as a professional athlete is hard enough; motivating yourself through each day can be incredibly challenging, and if you are not happy in your mental state, than you aren’t giving yourself the best chance to be successful.

Moving swimming clubs and coaches is never personal, certainly not for me. As I have gotten older I’ve taken more ownership of my career. At the end of the day, it is my job after all. And when you are in the same job for 15 years, sometimes you need a change to freshen things up.

I have always said I wanted to go to 3 Olympics.

And I started noticing myself lacking that enjoyment for swimming. I wanted to find a way to get myself through the next two year Olympic cycle ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Given I have competed through two Olympics, I know how long the cycle can feel.

But then it also goes quite quickly as well.

And for me, I don’t want to have any regrets at the end of my career. I would hate to look back and know that I didn’t do everything I could to stay motivated and engaged as I set about achieving my goal of being a three-time Olympian.

And given the obstacles I’ve faced these four years, I believe it is important for me to do what I feel is in my best interests.

I won’t lie, the breast cancer scare is still a bit surreal for me.

When I was going through it, it was all in the moment. And being so young, I almost didn’t really know how to process it because I was just like – “Oh this is bizarre.”

You don’t ever believe something like that can happen to you.

That whole experience, I will eventually speak out in greater detail when the time is right and I hope one day I can help other people who find themselves in that position.

But that whole part of my life taught me so much about myself – and now I view it as what I learnt from that and how I got through it.

I didn’t really think about it at the time, you go through the motions and do what you have to do.

But I just think it puts perspective on everything. Which is why, I now take pride in all my achievements, no matter the size.

I pride myself on being able to get perspective quite quickly, and not down spiral for too many days in a row when things are going bad.

Because what athletes do is challenging at times, but we are also so lucky to be in the position we find ourselves in.

We are paid to be fit and healthy, and I guess when something like that puts your health in question, it can really stump you.

I think so many athletes feel invincible at times because we are so lucky with all we get to do, and so it’s important that we appreciate and see it for what it is.

That’s how I see the whole experience – its purpose was to do that for me. I have done a lot of personal development.

And that has helped me overcome certain challenges that I’ll face.

But when you’re in that mindset regardless of the obstacle, you’re constantly looking into the future and striving towards that next goal. A lot of successful athletes are similar in that regards; we only have tunnel vision at times.

And as savage as it is, that is how you have to be in those moments, to get the best out of yourself.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 06: Gold medalist Emma McKeon, Brittany Elmslie, Bronte Campbell and Cate Campbell of Australia pose during the medal ceremony for the Final of the Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Reflection is very underrated and I think that only athletes now realise how important that whole aspect is as well.

You don’t allow yourself to become vulnerable, or for your emotions to get the better of you.

I think a lot of athletes now realise that it’s not sustainable.

It’s really good that the conversation around mental health and how that ties with the elite athlete lifestyle is spoken about so often these days.

Because you can’t do that over a 15 year career. It’s not human. We’re not robots.