Just two years after considering quitting swimming, Aberdeen’s Robbie Renwick will race in Rio as a world champion and gold medal prospect.
The 28-year-old is a pivotal part of the Great Britain 4x200m freestyle relay team that shocked USA in Kazan, Russia, to secure the world title last year.
It was a remarkable resurrection for Renwick who considered ending his career after his Glasgow Commonwealth Games heartache.
As defending Commonwealth 200m freestyle champion from Delhi 2010, Renwick’s failure to medal at his home games left him devastated and at a crossroads.
Now he will take to the water in Rio as a strong prospect to top the podium.
He said: “The Glasgow Commonwealth Games were a turning point for me and there were thoughts of quitting.
“It was a choice of moving to the University of Stirling or to quit and finish my degree.
“Athletes go through ups and downs, and Glasgow was certainly a down for me.
“I went into the Games as Commonwealth champion and would have loved to have retained my title in front of a home crowd.
“That would have meant everything to me so to finish fifth was absolutely gutting.
“I knew I had to change my training up so I decided to move to Stirling (National Swimming Academy).
“With the previous training environment I was getting up at five in the morning to train and then training again at five in the evening.
“That is not the ideal situation for a performance athlete and I addressed all the areas in my lifestyle which needed improved at Stirling. “Now I am able to focus more on the technical aspects of swimming and my performances are a lot better.
“Everything is peaking at the right time for Rio which is so exciting.”
Within a year of that Glasgow low the former Cults Academy pupil was crowned world champion.
In the final in Kazan, Renwick swam the fastest 200m of his career, at the age of 27, in an historic first world relay gold for Great Britain.
Swimming legend Ryan Lochte was in the USA team beaten into silver medal spot.
Lochte has 11 Olympic medals, five of them gold and a remarkable 39 world titles and 65 world medals.
Renwick said: “Becoming world champions last year means that ideally we would love to come away from Rio with the gold medal.
“We are feeling really confident leading in.
“For us it is a case of doing the best we can on the day.
“If we do that I’m sure results will take care of themselves.
“I had a good season last year and am hoping for an even better one this year.
“To come away with an Olympic medal would be the ultimate dream.”
Renwick is set to compete in his third Olympics having reached finals at both London (2012) and Beijing (2008).
Now an elder statesman of Team GB he has seen it and done it all before at the world’s biggest meet.
The world title has fuelled aspirations, and hope, of a first relay gold for Great Britain.
But Renwick insists he is feeling no pressure.
He said: “After the world championship gold in 2015 I said anything else I get in swimming will be a bonus.
“I could walk away from the sport knowing I am a world champion which is an unbelievable thing.
“All the hard work I have put in through the years has finally come to justice.
“Any success we get in Rio will be icing on the cake.
“I don’t feel any pressure, which is great.
“I don’t have any big sponsorship commitments so there is no pressure coming from that side of things.
“I just swim for the love of it and to get the best out of myself.”
Competing in the Olympics means so much to Renwick he has a permanent reminder, and motivator, having tattooed the Games five ring symbol on his right arm following Beijing in 2008.
“Competing in the Olympics means so much to me,” he said.
“From a very young age I have always looked at performing at the Olympics as the pinnacle of sport.
“To get an Olympic medal is the ultimate goal and that is something I am still striving towards.
“Everything has changed for the Rio Games.
“The first one in Beijing was unbelievable, a very special moment for me. My second Olympics was London 2012 and to be part of Team GB and have the whole country behind you was something I will never forget.
“Rio looks spectacular, really colourful and I have heard so many things about the city. But for me it is not about enjoying the place as I am going to do a job.”
Unusually for swimming Renwick is arguably reaching his peak in his late 20s. He refused to rule out a potential crack at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
“I won’t make any rash decisions after Rio,” he said.
“I will take it a year at a time and see how results go in Rio but I still feel in great shape.
“I feel like I am capable of going another four years but you can never tell.
“It is sport which is very cut-throat and you might have younger athletes coming through and beating you.
“I love swimming. I want to keep doing well and winning medals at the top of the sport for as long as I can.”