Luuka Jones put in a much-improved second run to qualify in third for the canoe slalom semifinals.
It would have taken a disaster for her to miss out with the event having one of the more user-friendly qualifications, with the top 24 of 27 progressing.
The 32-year-old silver medallist from Rio de Janeiro had no problem doing so, posting a slightly sloppy 110.22s in the first round and a brilliant 101.72 in the second. Jones made a clean run and looked at peace with the course and herself.
With only the best time counting, Jones was pipped by Germany's Ricarda Funk to the second spot.
They could only watch on in admiration as Australian Jessica Fox blitzed them by 3s, posting 98.46s.
Fox won silver in London, bronze in Rio and looks determined to make it a set in Tokyo.
While it is all pointing in the right direction for the Jones, there are still many gates to pass through before the medals are awarded. With little consequences for not being quite at your best, the medal contenders used the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the course and conditions.
In a slightly more surprising turn, New Zealand-born Cook Islander Jane Nicholas qualified, despite being placed 26th after the first round.
Nicholas is part of a remarkable family of Olympian doctors, with brother Bryden and sister Ella also representing the Cooks at the Olympics, with both competing in Rio and Ella also in London 2012.
She posted a time of 150.17s after round one, well inside the danger zone, but extracted herself nicely with a second-round 120.10s to qualify 20th.
It was a tricky day at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre, with a buffeting wind causing some gates to move.
Moroccan Celia Joder gave a graphic demonstration of the course's challenges, accumulating more than 100 seconds in penalties on her way to crashing out.