Abbey Harkin has July's World Championships in South Korea firmly in her sights after clocking one of the fastest times internationally in 2019 and claiming her maiden Australian long course title in an individual event at senior level.
The 20-year-old Hunter-raised swimmer, now based in Brisbane at the St Peters Western club, said she will take renewed confidence into June's selection trials having won the women's 100 metre breaststroke crown at the Australian Championships in a career-best one minute, 7.02 seconds.
It was part of Harkin's seven-medal haul, including four relay victories as well as silvers in the 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley, at the six-day carnival in Adelaide last week.
She also produced at least four personal best times, featuring a 1.18 second improvement en route to her solo gold.
"It was a very successful meet for me and my club," Harkin told the Newcastle Herald.
"I had been in some heavy training so I didn't expect it all, but it was awesome."
These performances come as Harkin, a former Louth Park resident and Maitland Grossmann High School student, eyes a spot on the next Dolphins team having represented Australia at the World Short Course Championships in China last year.
"That [world long course] is my main goal for this year," she said.
Despite her recent efforts, Harkin's ticket to Gwangju is not yet booked with the national titles and World Championships trials being run separately.
"I think they are trying to be more like the Americans and have trials closer to the main event," she said.
Australian trials will take place in Brisbane from June 9 with worlds to follow in South Korea from July 12.
Harkin has resumed training and will soon head to Singapore for a camp with her St Peters Western squad.
She is coached by Dean Boxall, alongside the likes of Ariarne Titmus and Mitch Larkin, having moved north of the state border at the end of 2015 after a short stint in Sydney.
"The coaching has been great, he's so passionate about the sport and what we do," Harkin said. "I love it up here and wouldn't have it any other way."
Following the disappointment of missing the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast last year, Harkin has reassessed her approach.
"The past year or two going to major meets I've probably put too much pressure on myself," she said.
"I think I just relaxed a bit more and raced my own race."
Harkin won a tight national final, having qualified second fastest for the women's 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:07.83. Her previous best was 1:08.20.
According to the FINA world rankings, only American Annie Lazor (1:06.66, 1:06.89) and Australian Jessica Hansen (1:06.91) have gone sub 1:07.00 in the same event this year.
Harkin posted new markers of 2:12.26 and 2:25.12 in deciders for the women's 200m IM and 200m breaststroke respectively.