Jack Burnell admits he couldn’t have asked for a better 10km performance, despite finishing in a heart-breaking fourth position at the World Championships in Hungary.
Just 1.5 seconds separated the 24-year-old from a place on the podium in a thrilling race finale in Lake Balaton, with no fewer than five competitors battling it out over the later stages.
Gold eventually went to Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands, silver to Jordan Wilimovsky of the USA and Marc-Antoine Olivier of France was third, with Burnell just behind.
But that was not without an enormous effort from the Rio 2016 Olympian, sitting in second after the quarter and halfway marks, while still on the podium with just 2.5km to go.
That made a fourth-place finish a tough pill to swallow for Burnell but, with a big year on the horizon, he is hopeful big moments will follow after this performance.
“I’m gutted. We gave it everything this year - we put absolutely everything into it,” Burnell told British Swimming. “It’s so hard to find words when you’ve just finished fourth at a World Championships.
“It’s hard to draw positives at this stage. Obviously we wanted a medal at least but it didn’t happen today. I couldn’t have given anymore but I wasn’t the best man on the day unfortunately.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better race in terms of how I swam it and where I was placed around the course. I felt really good throughout the race.
“Coming into the finish I felt strong and those boys went at the same pace I did. Maybe I should have made a move a little earlier but those are things we will look at when we go back to the drawing board.”
Meanwhile there was also a fourth place in the diving FINA World Championships, as Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow narrowly missed out on the podium in Budapest.
They pair had been sixth in the early stages, but fought back valiantly to finish with a score of 418.02.
"There were lots of positives that we can take a from the competition, our distance from the board was better, our front 4 1/2 has been consistently good," Daley said.
"It's a change of lists in terms of what order we are doing our dives in so that ultimately affects things, we don't normally finish in that dive. But no, there are plenty of positives, so pretty happy overall."
Grace Reid and Katherine Torrance finished in fifth place after putting in a consistent performance in the 3m Synchro final.