Chris Walker-Hebborn is targeting world glory to finally put the demons of an underwhelming London 2012 Olympic performance to rest.
The 23-year-old Bury-born swimmer will be aiming to make a splash in Barcelona, Spain from Monday as he competes in the FINA World Championships in the 100m and 200m backstroke as well as the 4x100m backstroke medley.
And after the disappointment of last summer, where he failed to qualify for a final in either discipline, leading to questions over his future, the University of Bath-based athlete is determined to make amends.
“I definitely considered quitting the sport after the Olympics because it is hard to take when things weren’t going my way,” he revealed.
“It was a bitter disappointment not to get to a final at the Olympics because I knew I had better in me and didn’t show it.
“However, after realising I hadn’t done what I wanted I decided to continue and fulfil my aims.
“Thankfully, my coaches believed in me and we agreed that this year I would get my head down and give it my all.
“If things don’t go as expected then I’ll have to question my future again but at the moment I think I’ve still got potential to improve and I’ll keep going.”
That dogged determination was clear to see at the qualifying rounds at the British Gas Championships this month as Walker-Hebborn blasted back to form by winning the 100m event ahead of former domestic champion Liam Tancock and clinching second in the 200m behind Scotland’s Craig McNally.
“It was definitely good to be back on form after what has been a poor couple of years for me in which my confidence dropped but it is certainly back now,” he added.
“I think the championships were a bit of a shake-up to a lot of people with a lot of strong competition but I came out of it feeling pretty confident.
“I’ve been working incredibly hard in my preparation ahead the of Barcelona and hopefully I can keep my form going.
“I always target a place in the final and hopefully it will be the same again.
“Based on my ability, I should be able to get into the final of all three of my disciplines, that is the goal.
“Realistically I know I am capable of doing that and with the confidence boost of the last championships it should hopefully be achievable.”