Christian Sprenger swam Sunday's Olympic 100m breaststroke final like it was his last but, after claiming a surprise silver medal in London, he's not so sure it will be.
The 26-year-old was rewarded for persevering through a dark time in his career as he continued his remarkable improvement this year to clock a huge PB and finish behind only South African Cameron van der Burgh - who claimed Brenton Rickard's world record in winning gold.
American comeback swimmer Brendan Hansen was third while Rickard was sixth.
Sprenger produced the race of his career but revealed afterwards he almost never got to London as he considered quitting the sport last year.
However he said a change in coach and dropping his former pet event, the 200m breaststroke, had made all the difference.
"I lost a bit of drive in the sport, I think mainly because the 200m was dragging me down," an emotional Sprenger said.
"I wanted a bit more dimension to my swimming. My attitude changed at training, I changed coaches, just a new environment helped a lot.
"I was starting to focus on university a bit more, and thinking about life outside of swimming because obviously it's not going to last forever.
"The stars aligned for me tonight ... I'm thankful every day now I didn't give it up and gave it one more shot.
"I'm just so glad to be here."
Sprenger was ecstatic to break the 60-second barrier for the first time at national titles in March but managed to go beyond his dreams as he clocked 58.93 in Saturday night's final.
It took an almighty swim to beat him, with Van der Burgh clocking 58.46 seconds to shave 12 one hundredths of a second of Rickard's world record, set in a supersuit at the 2009 world championships.
"My goal was to break the minute this year and sometimes you just have those swims and everything falls into place, and for me it was tonight," he said.
Sprenger came to London expecting it to be his last Olympics.
"But I guess I've found some new form so who knows," he said.
"This was it for me. So I went into the race thinking, 'this could be my only chance' and that's how I swam the race. I swam like there was no more races ever again."