Emily Seebohm’s Olympic tears were replaced by smiles at the world championships as this time she savoured taking 100m backstroke silver behind American Missy Franklin.
In a repeat of the result in London last year, Seebohm finished second behind the rising 18-year-old in the latest duel between the world’s premier female backstrokers in Barcelona.
It was Australia’s fifth medal, and fourth silver, after three days of racing in Spain.
Seebohm was shattered at finishing second in London, feeling she’d lost the gold after breaking the Olympic record in the heats but failing to reproduce that form in the final.
But it was a vastly-different attitude from Seebohm after clocking 59.09 seconds to finish behind Franklin (58.42) and ahead of Japan’s Aya Yerawaka (59.23) in Tuesday’s final.
The 21-year-old took three months off after the Olympics and said knowing she wasn’t in peak condition coming into worlds allowed her to race free of pressure and enjoy the experience.
“I think what I achieved last year wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be,” Seebohm said.
“But seeing as I haven’t been in the shape that I was last year, I didn’t really expect too much (in Barcelona).
“That helped me and made me feel happy to be out there and I enjoyed every minute of it.
“Being up there on the podium and getting a silver medal is incredible and I wish that was a little bit more important last year and that I enjoyed it a little bit more.”
Seebohm said taking a break helped her rediscover herself but it hasn’t affected her desire to get back to chasing Franklin in the build-up to Rio 2016.
“We work really hard to get in the shape that we are pre-Olympics and we don’t really have a lot of big breaks,” Seebohm said.
“After Olympics we just kind of let loose and go a bit crazy.
“I’m not in the shape I was but this is just motivation to keep me going and to keep getting stronger and get in that position that I want.”
Seebohm collected the only medal for Australia on Tuesday, following a three-medal haul on Monday.
That performance included a gold to Christian Sprenger in the 100m breaststroke final and he returned to the pool to progress to the final of the 50m event.
His swim of 27.10 was the fourth-fastest in the semi-finals, while South African Cameron van der Burgh underlined his favouritism for Wednesday’s final with an impressive 26.81.
“I’m still a little bit tired from everything last night, all the emotion and excitement,” Sprenger said.
“But (in the final) I will give it all I can and leave nothing behind.”
Ashley Delaney (53.55) was sixth in the men’s 100m butterfly final while Cameron McEvoy (1:46.63) and Thomas Fraser-Holmes (1:47.11) were seventh and eighth respectively in the men’s 200m freestyle, won by France’s Olympic champion Yannick Agnel (1:44.20).
“Tonight was just not acceptable in my books and it’s not where I wanted to be,” national 200m champion Fraser-Holmes said.
Australian Kylie Palmer (1:56.53) qualified sixth fastest for Wednesday night’s 200m freestyle final but Olympic bronze medallist Bronte Barratt (1:57.18) missed out.
Grant Irvine (1:56.95) failed to reach the men’s 200m butterfly final.
The swim of the night belonged to American teenager Katie Ledecky, who demolished the world record in the non-Olympic women’s 1500m freestyle final.
The 16-year-old clocked 15 minutes and 36.53 seconds to shave more than six seconds off the previous record, set by American Katie Ziegler in 2007.