Great Britain's Adam Peaty laid down a major marker at the World Aquatics Championships as he stormed into the final of the men's 100m breaststroke event.
The two-time and reigning Olympic champion in the event, Peaty touched the wall with just 58.60 seconds on the board in the second semi-final, qualifying for the showpiece event in the quickest time.
Making his first appearance at the World Championships since 2019, having battled with injuries and inner "demons" relating to mental health problems, Peaty edged out the USA's Nic Fink by 0.13 seconds in the second semi-final.
The 29-year-old will be gunning for his fourth world title in the 100m breaststroke in Monday's final, having taken gold in the event in 2015, 2017 and 2019, although he is unsure whether he will be back to his world-beating best in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
"With this sport you just never know what's going to happen in an Olympic year. So I can't just put myself out or put myself in. Because we don't know until we start the Olympic Games," Reuters quotes Peaty as saying.
"Will it ever be back to who I was? Maybe not. I'm at peace with that – and that I'm not just an athlete, I'm a person that wants to do better in the sport but also to continually get better at growth.
"I haven't done anything the last few years – which I'm pleased with. I'm finding a way back now. I've got the experience, I've got the knowledge and I've got the talent, I believe, to do it."
However, there were no podium finishes for Great Britain to celebrate on the first day of the swimming finals, as the men's 4x100m relay team just missed out on a medal in fourth place.
China topped the men's 4x100m relay standings with 3:11.08 on the board, while Italy took the silver medal with a total of 3:12.08, and the women's title went to the Netherlands (3:36.61).
Bronze medallist last year, New Zealand's Erika Fairweather won gold in the women's 400m freestyle event, clocking 3:59.44 to clinch her nation's maiden swimming world title.