When the pressure is on, elite sportsmen thrive. And the pressure will rarely have been higher than at next week’s British Swimming Championships in Glasgow.
GB’s best swimmers will go head-to-head to not only compete for British titles, but with places at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on the line.
The Tollcross International Swimming Centre will play host from Tuesday through to Sunday as any athletes finishing in the top two and going under the Olympic qualifying time, once ratified by the British Olympic Association, will be on the plane to Rio.
There are a myriad storylines to follow in Glasgow but one of the most interesting centres around Adam Peaty as he looks to continue his recent domination.
The 2015 British Championships saw double world record holder Peaty become the first swimmer in history to dip under 58 seconds in the 100m breaststroke while he also walked away with gold over 50m and 100m.
The 21-year-old went on to win 100m and 50m gold at that summer’s World Championships in Kazan, lowering the world record in the latter to 26.42 in the process.
And despite an historic 2015, rather worryingly for his rivals the Uttoxeter-born swimmer claims he is even more of a force to be reckoned with this year.
“My form and fitness is the best it has ever been at this stage,” said Peaty. “I have just got back from six or seven weeks of work in Australia and that was the best long course training camp I have ever done.
“I did purely long course, no short course, and I am pushing times I have never done before and I am faster than I have ever been.
“My back end speed is the fastest it has ever been and I am more confident than ever in it so hopefully that can push me to some fast times at the British Championships.
“I believe in the laws of attraction and the more I think about it the more I want it so the more I believe in myself the faster I am going to go.
“I want to be one of those people that can look back in years to come and think that no one is going to touch that time and if anything is near me in that final 25m then hopefully I can take it away.”
Peaty isn’t the only world champion who will be looking to book an Olympic place in Glasgow with 200m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle champion James Guy aiming to continue the stellar form he showed in 2015.
The likes of London 2012 Olympians Liam Tancock, Chris Walker-Hebborn, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Fran Halsall will also be competing as they seek to repeat their Olympic experience.
One woman who has less fond memories of four years ago is Jazz Carlin after glandular fever followed by a bout of tonsillitis ruled her out of the selection race for London 2012.
After missing out on a home Games, Carlin admitted she contemplated quitting the sport but has since turned things around winning the Commonwealth, European and British titles over the 800m freestyle as well European and British gold and Commonwealth silver in the 400m freestyle in 2014.
She then picked up an individual World Championship medal with bronze in the 800m freestyle last summer
And four-time Olympic medallist Rebecca Adlington believes the Swindon-born star’s recent results have proved she is finally showing her true potential in the pool.
“I think the past two years Jazz has become the athlete we’ve all known she can be,” said Adlington
“I think London, and the Worlds after London as well, was a really tough time for her, she’s been plagued by illness and everything.
“It’s just been really difficult, but the true thing about Jazz, and this is why she is a true world-class athlete, is that she’s bounced back.
“Most athletes that have missed out on a home Games, that have had a disappointing Worlds, that have dealt with illness would just go ‘OK, I’m done.’
“They’d lose so much confidence, you’d write them off, you’d never see them again, whereas Jazz isn’t that, Jazz comes back fighting every single time.
“I just think now is the time, I think she probably had to go through those disappointments to realise how strong she is and how determined she is.”