On not taking a day off for six years leading into the 2004 Athens Games:
“I used to have a thing—coach Bob [Bowman] and I couldn’t talk to each other before 8 a.m. because I was in a terrible mood. I don’t like getting up that early. Getting into the cold pool just isn’t fun. It sucks. But during those six years it was a sacrifice that I made to try to become my best. So yeah, in bed at 10 or earlier every night. Waking up at 6:30 every day. When I was a kid, I would do anything. Whatever Bob told me to do, I would do about 10 times better. I wanted to be the best. I still do.”
On the marijuana photo that surfaced after the 2008 Olympics:
“It was a learning experience. I’m the kind of person who has to go through the learning experiences myself. Somebody could tell me, “If you eat this much you’ll be fat,” and I’d be like, “Yeah, okay, let me try it.” Growing up, my mom taught us to make our own decisions, but also that you have to pay for the consequences of those decisions. I’m thankful for that. I’ll be the first to say I’ve made thousands of mistakes, but I’ve never made the same mistake twice.”
On his rumored 12,000 calories a day diet:
“No. People make a big deal out of what I eat, but it’s not that crazy. I had a three-egg omelet and three pieces of French toast and coffee this morning. For recovery, I think it’s a big deal to eat within a half-hour after you exercise. Otherwise I just try to put carbs into my system before I swim and then load up on the protein after. I don’t count calories. Whether it’s Sour Patch Kids or Reese’s or a bag of chips, if I feel like eating it, I’m going to eat it.”
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