Tim Shuttleworth received a huge confidence boost after picking up a World Championships medal in his first ever marathon swimming race.
The Rio Olympian won bronze in the 5km swim at the World Aquatics Championships in his debut in the event.
More known for his work in the pool rather than in open water, 20-year-old Shuttleworth finished ten seconds behind eventual winner Marc-Antoine Olivier, of France, with Italy’s Mario Sanzullo splitting the pair and taking silver.
Not only was the race his first over a marathon distance, but also his first in a World Championship, with the Loughborough University swimmer taken aback by his achievement.
“To win a World Championship medal feels amazing,” he told British Swimming.
“It’s my first senior marathon race and gives me great confidence for the future. I’ve never done anything quite as physical as that race.
“No-one wanted to give anything away but I stuck at it and swam as hard as I possibly could to get on that podium.”
Shuttleworth paced his race well to leave himself with a chance at a medal in the sprint for the line in Lake Balaton, Budapest.
“I got off to a good start and found a little bit of clear water which was a great introduction to my first World Championship marathon event,” added Shuttleworth.
“As the first lap unfolded the pack swarmed on me and I got stuck in the middle of it. It was a physical battle, and I took a couple of kicks, but I kept my head and focus to keep in the race.
“As we got closer to the finish I went with a small group in a sprint away from the pack and managed to get to the touch for a first medal at my first World Championships.”
The marathon swimming programme continues on Sunday with the women’s 10km race.