Conor Ferguson set a new personal best in the 100m backstroke twice in the same day at the World Swimming Championships in Doha.
However the Larne swimmer remains agonisingly just 0.16 of a second outside of the Olympic qualification time for Paris.
Ferguson swam 53.90 in the semi-finals to finish 13th overall.
That was five-hundredths quicker than the morning heats. The Olympic qualification time is 53.74.
“It’s bittersweet because I wanted that qualification time you know, but I have to be happy with the personal best. It’s moving in the right direction,” said Ferguson.
The 24 year-old, who trains at Loughborough University, will have another opportunity this week to clock the time when he leads off the medley relay on Sunday.
“Yeah, I mean I just have to now refocus, recover for this relay and you know with a real opportunity to get that relay across the line.
“There’s nothing more privileged and inspiring than an Irish relay going to the Olympics and I want to be a part of that and I want to lead that relay off and so yeah I’ve got to look forward to that.
“Just get the head back back in the game you know.”