Matthew Stanley hopes he has learned from his mistakes as he prepares for July's world swimming championships in Barcelona.
The tall, lean Matamata freestyler was below par in his 200m and 400m events at the London Olympics, and even though he finished fourth and sixth in the 400m and 200m freestyle at the world shortcourse champs in Istanbul in December - in both cases less than a second off third place - he wasn't happy with his efforts there either.
"I swim because I want to do well and to achieve," Stanley said yesterday. "It was really about learning from my mistakes," he said of the London and Istanbul experiences. Events in Istanbul crystallised in his mind what he had to do.
The New Zealand team efforts - Lauren Boyle and, to an extent, Glenn Snyders excepted - were slammed in London. Stanley, 21 and in his second year of a business degree at Massey, reckons being harder on himself is a key element in his aspirations as distinct from a specific technical or mental aspect.
"I don't think it is mental or physical issues. Basically I had to become more competitive. Swimming is a tough sport and there's a lot of people who are extremely competitive.
"Those guys who are winning always are the people who've put in the most work and want it the most. Just learning those small things are what is going to help me achieve more in my career."
The New Zealand squad of 14 - 10 pool, four open water swimmers - fly to Europe on Saturday. It will be the first assignment for new head coach David Lyles. The Englishman has been with the squad less than four weeks, but after a period of upheaval, with coaches coming and going, Stanley likes the stability he will bring.
"There's been a lot of changes since the start of the year, lots of different coaches with different input. It's great to have David here, so we have a concrete structure and leadership around the team. I've really enjoyed his training and I think I've already made some nice gains."
The seven-week overseas buildup should give a solid foundation.
The pool swimmers will compete in the Mare Nostrum meets in Barcelona on June 12-13 and Canet, France, on June 16-17. The squad will split for a period, the endurance swimmers heading for high altitude at Sierra Nevada, Spain, the others at a sea level camp under former backstroke champion Gary Hurring. The open water group have a trial on the world champs course on June 16-17.