The swim team won just one gold in London amid claims of disharmony, bullying and poor team culture, which prompted the Swimming Australia board to set up a review of the sport.
But Meares said no one dedicates years of training to fool around on sport's biggest stage.
"You don't sacrifice and prepare for four years and have your family and friends and sponsors and team behind you sacrifice the same amount of time and money for you to go there for a party, that's not how it works," she told reporters in Melbourne.
"It is sport and you do get beaten at times and sometimes you do get handed a flogging and unfortunately that's the position our swim team was in."
Meares was hailed as one of the heroes in Australia's London campaign for claiming gold in the track sprint.
But she suggested the Australian public underestimated the challenge of winning a medal.
"People need to recognise that it's difficult to win Olympic medals, not just gold medals, silver and bronze medals are very difficult to win, and it takes a lot of sacrifice and a lot of commitment to be able to do it."