When I was growing up, my family had a cottage in Port Sandfield, where Lake Rosseau connects with Lake Joseph. We’d spend all summer there and weekends in the spring and fall. It was where we came together as a family.
I have three siblings and two cousins, and as long as it wasn’t thundering, the six of us would be outside all day, every day — swimming, wakeboarding, waterskiing, tubing. Sometimes we’d have sleepovers in the boathouse, where you could hear the waves at night.
My grandparents also had a cottage on Lake Rosseau, and that’s where I learned a lot of the lessons that have translated into sport and the way I live my life.
I was the youngest and smallest of the cousins, but that was never a hindering factor. If there was something I wanted to do, my family would figure out a way to include me.
My grandparents had an activity chart up in the stairwell with all our names on it next to different skills; once you did an activity three times, you got a star. I remember being especially proud to get a star for doing a back dive, because it was something I was scared to do.
A week before my first Olympics in Beijing, I went to my grandparents’ cottage with my parents and one of my teammates. At dinner, my grandfather told us about how he qualified for the Olympics in 1940. It was the first time he’d really told me the story in full, and we sat around that table for hours, just chatting. A week later, he passed away. Looking back, that was one of the most special moments I had with my grandfather.
—As told to Alexandra Pope