By Joseph Schooling's lofty standards, this year has been a trying one with several poor performances and his own admission of losing focus in the pool.
But the 100m butterfly Olympic champion believes his form is improving ahead of this month's world championships in Hungary and remains confident of breaking the 100m fly world record (49.82sec clocked by Michael Phelps in 2009) in Budapest.
Belief in reaching that goal, plus capturing world titles in the 50m and 100m events, stems from recent results.
The 22-year-old posted 48.74sec to win the 100m freestyle at the Speedo Southern Zone Long Course Sectional Championships in Texas yesterday morning (Singapore time).
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It was much faster than the 50.07sec he managed at last month's Texas Senior Circuit.
The University of Texas undergraduate said he was pleased with his physical condition and was looking to make a statement in today's (US time) 100m fly event.
Speaking over Skype yesterday at the Nestle R&D Centre, where he was named Milo Singapore's brand ambassador, Schooling said: "I'm excited to post a time officially, and my goal is to have the fastest time it can be, unshaved, untapered.
HE CAN HARDLY WAIT
I feel confident and I'm excited, I just want it (worlds) to be here already.
JOSEPH SCHOOLING, Olympic 100m fly champion, who is upbeat about his chances at the world championships in Hungary.
"I think that's going to send a message to everyone. I feel confident and I'm excited, I just want it (worlds) to be here already."
The July 6-9 sectional championships in Austin are part of his final phase of preparations, which include a training camp in Croatia from July 14-20.
Beyond the July 23-30 world meet, Schooling also has his sights on next month's SEA Games across the Causeway.
He will swim in six events at the Aug 19-30 Games; the 50m and 100m fly, 100m free, 4x100m and 4x200m free relays, and the 4x100m medley relay.
"My goal like I've said time after time is to win, break records and help Team Singapore as best as I can," said Schooling.
"And with my training the last few months, I'm happy and confident to say that I'm going to do that.
"I'm going to hit my goals. I'm ready to fight, and fight well."
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules on amateurism forbid athletes from accepting any financial assistance based on skills or participation.
Nestle Singapore's director of marketing communications and corporate affairs Chow Phee Chat said the terms of Schooling's ambassadorship do not flout these rules.
"We cleared the requirements with the NCAA," he added.
Next year will be Schooling's final season competing at the annual collegiate swim meet, after which he will turn professional.
His father Colin said: "(The 2020 Olympic Games) is quite some time away. He needs to keep himself (current).
"He intends to be a multi-medal winner at the Tokyo Games, so that means a lot of time and effort."