The wait for Joseph Schooling and Singapore's first swimming world title goes on, at least for a few more days, after the Olympic champion finished fifth in yesterday's 50m butterfly final.
Diving in from lane two at Budapest's Danube Arena, the 22-year-old posted a time of 22.95 seconds and was pipped to the wall by Benjamin Proud (22.75), Nicholas Santos (22.79), Andrii Govorov (22.84) and Caeleb Dressel (22.89).
Despite not winning a medal, Schooling stressed that he would rebound quickly and was looking forward to his next two events, the 100m freestyle tomorrow and his pet event, the 100m fly, on Friday.
Water still dripping from his hair, he said: "Obviously disappointed with the positioning, time was fine. That sets me up to have a really good 100m fly.
"I learnt that my first 50m for my 100m fly is going to be good. My going out speed is going to be fine. Not to worry about that. This result has spurred me on to achieve better results for my next two events."
He had set an Asian record of 22.93 in Sunday's semi-finals, the first time he had gone below 23 seconds in the event and said there were enough positives to take away even without a medal. He had finished seventh in the same event at the 2015 edition in Kazan, Russia.
"This is my second-best time. I just got beat by four better guys," he added. "Whatever, it's fine."
He faced a stacked field. Proud is the British record holder while Santos, runner-up two years ago in Russia, has a personal best of 22.61 which is the fastest recorded in a textile suit. Govorov, meanwhile, is the European 50m fly champion and has a personal best of 22.69.
Schooling had withdrawn from the 200m fly event, which starts today, and will have a rest day to recharge himself for the rest of the competition.
TAKING THE POSITIVES
Obviously disappointed with the positioning, time was fine. That sets me up to have a really good 100m fly.
JOSEPH SCHOOLING, preferring to look ahead to his other events.
He said: "The 50m fly is merely a gauge for how my 100m fly is going to be. So from that I'm very pleased. Just put this behind me and focus on my next race.
"I never like to lose, but tomorrow's a new day."
In the night's other finals, Britain's Adam Peaty did not become the first man to break the sub-57sec barrier in the 100m breaststroke, but the Olympic champion still retained his world title in a championship record of 57.47.
Swede Sarah Sjostrom was inches away from rewriting her world record of 55.48 in the 100m fly, set at the Rio Olympics, but settled for 55.53. It was her fourth victory in the event (2009, 2013 and 2015).
For Schooling, a second chance to become world champion is still in play. Few would bet against him.