Ben Proud is convinced he’s in a better place now than when he became double Commonwealth champion after securing silver and a personal best at the European Short Course Championships.
The 23-year-old thrust his name into the limelight when securing 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly gold at Glasgow 2014, all while still a teenager at his maiden Commonwealth Games.
Now, with the countdown to the Gold Coast getting closer, all eyes are on 2018 for Proud – with each race baring more and more significance as the meets progress.
His silver medal-winning display in the 50m freestyle was therefore an impressive way to begin rounding off 2017, securing Great Britain’s third medal of the Championships in Copenhagen and predicting more to come from his time in the pool.
“Another best time, another British record so I’m very, very happy,” he told British Swimming.
“Obviously there’s more to learn and more ways to improve but it’s good to come here and race really fast guys.
"It puts things into perspective so I can try and learn, adapt and hopefully move on with my long course season.
“The Commonwealth Games are next for me – that’s a big competition, it really means a lot. I want to be able to try and retain the two titles I got in 2014 and I feel in a much better place than four years ago so I think it’s going to be a good season.”
Proud stopped the clock in a time of 20.66 seconds in Denmark, four hundredths of a second better than his semi-final effort having progressed from the heats as the second-fastest qualifier.
It took a Championship record to win the race with Vladimir Morozov of Russia taking gold following his 20.31s effort, while bronze went to Luca Dotto of Italy.
But the personal bests haven’t stopped there for Great Britain’s swimmers with Olympic champion Adam Peaty setting a national record on his way to 50m breaststroke bronze.
Touching the wall in a time of 25.70s, even the shorter distances seem to be no problem for the Rio 2016 100m breaststroke gold medallist, only beaten by Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli and Kirill Prigoda of Russia.
More medals could come the way of the 22-year-old before the weekend is out, setting a new Championship record in the 100m breaststroke semi-finals, only for it to be beaten just a race later.
He’ll be joined in Saturday’s final by Ross Murdoch, setting his own PB of 57.55s to qualify seventh fastest.
“It was a nice processed swim, I wasn’t looking to go out there and do something special – a little bit faster than this morning, which it was,” said Peaty.
“It’s always good that teammates carry each other – he [Ross Murdoch] carries me sometimes, sometimes I carry him. So hopefully it will be a good final.”
Great Britain currently sit tenth in the medal table, with Duncan Scott picking up the other bronze of the week so far – ending his long wait for a first individual international medal.
Scott won double Olympic silver at Rio 2016 in the relay events and is a two-time world champion in the 4x200m freestyle, but a solo podium appearance has been a long time coming.
The 20-year-old recorded the second fastest swim of the 200m freestyle heats to book his place in the final in Copenhagen.
In a tight race for the wall, Scott stopped the clock in a time of 1:43.07 to take the bronze medal, 2.2s behind Danas Rapsys of Lithuania, who took gold, with Russia's Aleksandr Krasnykh settling for silver.
The action continues on Saturday, with the British team looking to add to a week of impressive performances including plenty of notable debut performances at this level.