Sprenger considers swimming future
This time last year, Christian Sprenger looked like a prize fighter and duly played the part as he came out swinging at the national swimming titles.
Fast forward 12 months and he admits his glittering career might be down for the count after being all but denied the chance to defend his 100m breaststroke world title.
Sprenger donned the same custom-made, gold-tinged hooded robe he debuted last year before strutting to the pool and dominating the 2014 national championships.
But that's where the similarities ended after world champion Sprenger (1:00.67) hit the pool on Saturday night, managing only second behind Jake Packard (1:00.37) in the national 100m breaststroke final in Sydney.
Both times fell short of the 2015 world titles team selection criteria.
Selectors' discretionary powers might give Sprenger a last-gasp nod for the world titles in Kazan, Russia in July, but most likely in the 4x100m medley team.
Sprenger was lucky just to contest the 2015 titles - his first since last July's Glasgow Commonwealth Games - after cutting edge treatment for a degenerative shoulder tendon in November.
But at 29, a brutally honest Sprenger admitted his career might be over if he misses out on a 2015 world titles nod.
"It was hard going through the injury and I am 29," he said.
"I have some decisions to make in the next few months, I suppose."
Asked if it would be tough to push through to the Rio Olympics if he missed world titles selection, Sprenger said: "It would be, to be honest.
"It's hard to see that far ahead without a meet in between. It is up in the air.
"You never know but I am happy with what I have done here.
"I can't complain. I have only had six weeks of breaststroke."
Sprenger might have looked the part on Saturday night but he was a shadow of the man who promised so much 12 months ago.
Back then, Sprenger was in career-best form, clocking world-beating times to win three national titles and narrowly missing the 50m breaststroke world record.
Incredibly, Sprenger's winning 100m time from last year's titles (58.87) is still the second fastest in the world.
However, Sprenger suffered a nightmare shoulder injury that sabotaged his Glasgow Commonwealth Games campaign.