Wollongong Olympian David McKeon is eyeing off a 400m freestyle final berth at the World Championships in May, in a sign his meteoric rise in Australian swimming is set to continue.
Having slashed 10 seconds from his personal best from 12 months ago, McKeon will ramp up his campaign for the championships when he travels to Melbourne for the Victorian titles today.
The lofty ambition is a stark contrast to when McKeon entered the sport seriously three years ago.
"Twelve months ago I was thinking that swimming is probably a sport that I'm good at but I don't know if I could really excel at it," McKeon said.
"I don't really have a set time that I would like to get down to but I definitely have goals of what I would like to achieve this year - making the worlds team and then getting in that final and doing my best for a place is one of those."
At 20, McKeon already has the obligatory Olympic rings tattooed on his left side. The euphoria of his London Games debut comes flooding back at the drop of a hat, and a state championship won last month has vindicated recent alterations in training.
But it's a sense of belonging that has underlined the Illawarra swimmer's dreams of bettering his London campaign.
"I feel as though I'm definitely part of that up-and-coming group of young men following the London Olympics," McKeon said.
"I think the worst is behind the Australian team and that it will definitely be stronger in the years to come.
"I'm feeling a lot better than I was before the Olympics, definitely. That period between the trials and the Olympics, I got a bit fatigued, but now I'm feeling 100 per cent better than I did then."
McKeon and training partner Jarrod Poort enjoyed a four-week break following the London Games, before returning to a rigorous six-day-a-week training regime.
The duo have been boosted from being mentored by coach Doug Frost, a former long-time coach to one of Australia's most successful swimmers, Ian Thorpe.
"At the moment, I'm doing 10 two-hour pool sessions, three one-hour gym sessions and then one hour a week I do pilates, massage and physio sessions," McKeon said.
"I've never really done a gym program, but from where I started after the Olympics until now I'm just so much more stronger and I feel better in the pool."
McKeon leaves for the Victorian Championships, held in Melbourne, today. With a strong finish there, the son of former Olympic swimmer Ron McKeon hopes to continue building on his successes.
"The 400 is my main event, but I'd also like to get more competitive in the 200," McKeon said.
"It's about achieving those smaller goals along the way and steadily improving my times - everything else will come from that."