James Goddard was second in the final of the 200 metres individual medley on the third day of the European Championships in Debrecen.
The Commonwealth champion had qualified fifth fastest and he led at the halfway stage, fighting it out with Beijing silver medallist Laszlo Cseh.
The pair were conducting their own private duel and it was the Hungarian who won out on the final length, setting a new championship record of one minute 56.66 seconds with Goddard second in 1min 57.84secs.
The Stockport ITC swimmer was an agonising fourth behind Cseh at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai and the Briton faces formidable opposition again this summer against Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte as well as the Hungarian.
Goddard has declared his intention to concentrate solely on the medley in London rather than also attempt the 200m backstroke in which he was fourth in Athens eight years ago.
Robbie Renwick finished eighth in the 200m freestyle in 1:49.57 in a race won by world record holder Paul Biedermann, the German adding the two-length race to the 400m title he claimed earlier this week.
Michael Jamieson failed to make it through to the final of the 200m breaststroke although there was better news for Sophie Allen who was the fifth fastest qualifier in the 200m individual medley in 2:13.29.
Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri produced the third fastest 1,500m freestyle in the world this year, his effort of 14:48.92 a new championship record and 9.23 ahead of world bronze medallist Gergo Kis in second.
Sarah Sjoestrom has already declared her intention to make an impression in London and she beat Olympic champion and world record holder Britta Steffen to the 100m freestyle title in 53.61.