The 25-year-old was the first Brit to qualify for London 2012 after defending her 10km open water title at the World Championships in Shanghai in July of 2011.
However, as soon as 2011 made way for 2012, Payne was never quite the same swimmer and failed to book an additional pool swim at the British Championships in March.
Unlike Beijing 2008 where Payne competed in the 200m and 400m medleys before winning 10km open water silver, she had just the latter and suffered a kidney infection in the build up to the Games.
She finished fourth in the Serpentine at London 2012, 0.4seconds shy of Martina Grimaldi who took bronze, before uprooting her life to Scotland after tying the knot with fellow swimmer David Carry.
Carry has since retired but with Payne back swimming at the Warrender Baths Club she's set to continue even if she doesn't know whether she'll ever compete in open water events again.
"The race was a lot rougher than normal," said Payne, who competed at the Scottish National Open Short Course Championships in Edinburgh last month.
"And suddenly, having been first, I was eighth then I had to catch up. It took so much energy and that meant I didn't have quite enough at the end.
"That [her wedding] helped console me, it meant that, straight after the race, I had a new focus. David was amazing, he was so important for me.
"But that moment of real excitement, that spark of competing, I know I want to do that again."