‘I gave it my all’: Chalmers edged out in thriller
IT took a superhuman effort from the best all-round swimmer in the world to stop Aussie sprint star Kyle Chalmers from completing his collection of major titles
Still just 21, the South Australian came agonisingly close to capturing his first world title in the men's 100m freestyle only to be denied by an eye-popping performance by American speedster Caeleb Dressel.
A winner of seven gold medals at the last world championships two years ago, Dressel took the gold medal in 46.96 seconds, the fastest time yet in a textile suit.
The only person who has ever gone quick was Brazilian Cesar Cielo whose 46.91 at the 2009 world championship in Rome was aided by the now-banned super suits that made everyone swimmer faster than they really could.
Chalmers took the silver in 47.08 - the fifth fastest time in history - after charging home on the last lap and nearly catching Dressel after making a slow start of the blocks.
"I gave it my absolute all tonight 47.0 is a very quick time, I couldn't really believe it when I saw that and to see Caeleb go 46.9 is absolutely mind blowing," Chalmers said.
"It is really positive for me leading into Tokyo."
Chalmers will head to Tokyo as the reigning Olympic, Commonwealth and Pan Pac champion.
Only the world title has eluded him but losing to Dressel has him fired up.
"I enjoy racing against him. He is an unbelievable athlete and a great guy," Chalmers said.
"I love being able to compete against the best guys in the world and at the moment he is that guy.
"It is about resetting and putting as much effort as I can into the next 12 months to challenge him for that gold medal and defending my title."
Chalmers has lowered his own personal best time by half a second this year and if he keeps going he could well break the magical 47- second barrier in Japan but he needs to improve his starts.
He gave Dressel a tenth of a second start off the blocks and was half a second behind him when they turned for home before he turned on the afterburners with a flying second lap of 24.29 seconds.
"It's great motivation to see Caeleb go that fast and, I guess, having him beat me spurs me to put that extra little bit into training," he said.
"I always back myself in, going into a race you always have to believe that you can win it.
"I kind of had that dive and he is unbelievable starter and I could see he had that half body length to a body length on me. It was kind of a chase for me for the rest of the race.
"I knew I was pretty close in that last 10. I think I didn't have the greatest finish but it's as good as I could have asked for really."