James Guy claimed the first world medal of his career as he opened Great Britain’s count at the Kazan 2015 World Championships by taking silver in the 400m men’s freestyle.
The 20-year-old also set a new British record as he finished just behind China’s Olympic champion Sun Yang with a time of three minutes 43.75 seconds.
Guy, who qualified second-fastest for the final, had gone off in front from the start and only Sun could keep up, before pulling ahead and taking the gold.
“Everyone wants to win obviously,” said Guy. “But I can’t be happier to win a medal at the World Championships – I’m over the moon with that one.
“I tried to race that from the start and back-end it. Sun Yang is a distance swimmer so he has more endurance than I do so my best chance was to go out hard and try and hold on.
“It was stroke for stroke and that’s what it will be like next year as well, maybe with a couple more guys in there – so that will be the big one.”
Great Britain will be hopeful of more medal success today as a quintet of swimmers made it into their respective finals.
World record holder Adam Peaty eased into the 100m breaststroke final, as did Ross Murdoch, while Ben Proud was second in his semi-final to make it into the 50m butterfly medal race.
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor was untouchable in the 200m individual medley semi-final and there will be a second Briton in that final as Hannah Miley also qualified.
Peaty will approach the pressure surrounding his gold medal challenge by reminding himself swimming is sport and not a matter of life or death. The City of Derby swimmer is only 20 but has already won two gold and one silver Commonwealth medals and four European Championship titles.
“Psychologically I have to change my approach a little bit after becoming the hunted, but I’ve still got nothing to lose really,” Peaty said.
“It’s not as if someone is going to be stood at the end of my lane with a gun saying ‘you’ve done rubbish – bang, bang’.
“Down that last length is going to be for Queen and country and I carry a lot of pride on my back that I am from Great Britain. I think that will help me.”