Four years after the heartbreak of missing out on London 2012 there was a sense of déjà-vu for Molly Renshaw as she saw her hopes of going to Rio evaporate despite breaking her own British record.
The Selston swimmer just missed out on selection in London, and this time was denied after coming second to surprise winner Chloe Tutton in the 200m breaststroke.
That was despite knocking three tenths off her previous best, which was the British record, coming home in 2:23.56.
Tutton was even faster, with a sensational 2:22.34 which puts her in contention for a spot in the team for Rio, even if it was just outside the qualifying standard set out ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games.
That was more than three seconds inside her personal best and gives her every chance of making the plane to South America.
For Renshaw, it was a case of what might have been and the 19-year-old was clearly devastated at the outcome.
“I’m happy with the time because it’s a PB but I wanted to win so it would give me more chance of getting on the team,” she said.
“I guess it was an amazing swim for Chloe and that’s a big PB for her but I was expecting more of a PB than that but you get caught up in the emotions a bit.
“This year my training, because of what happened to me in 2012 it’s just driven me to do everything I can and I’ve had a really good year training, it’s been really consistent. I’ve done everything I can.
“The selection times are what they are. We’ve known for quite a while and I’ve known for a while. It’s good to get a good PB but I wanted to go a lot better.
“The idea was to win the race to give me more of a chance to be selected.
“My training has been going so well though and it needed to be a 2:22.”
Four years ago Renshaw was denied an Olympic spot after an unsuccessful appeal.
This time it is arguably even crueller as she finished inside her British record but barring the unlikeliest of reprieves, will not get the chance to compete at a maiden Olympic Games.
Renshaw had no complaints about the qualification system with the Olympic squad set to be announced a week on Thursday.
And while admitting that she does not know what the future holds for her this summer and beyond, Renshaw, who now swims for Loughborough University, explained that she had learned a lot from her prior experiences – it just wasn’t enough on the day.
She added: “It definitely hurts more coming so close last time.
“I’ve matured a lot and grown up and because of what happened in 2012 it has driven me, I’ve done the best training I’ve ever done.
“I’ve been the best I can, the best in the gym but it’s just what happens on the day.”
* Tickets for the European Aquatics Championships – the biggest event to be held at the London Aquatics Centre since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games – from May 9-22 are now available at www.euroaquatics2016.london