ADAM Peaty says it was not until he tasted victory at the Commonwealth Games that he really believed he could win medals as a swimmer.
The Uttoxeter rising star added to his bulging trophy cabinet with two golds in the space of an evening at the European Championships in Berlin on Tuesday night, and will target more glory today in the 50m breaststroke.
And the 19-year-old former Dove Valley Swimming Club star said winning three medals in Glasgow last month – including two golds – has given him the confidence in his ability that others have always known.
"All the coaches at Dove Valley believed in the potential I had," Peaty told SwimVortex earlier this month.
"I'm not the same person I was at Dove Valley.
"Back then I was doing it more for the social – I liked to see my friends, I wasn't really taking it that seriously.
"As soon as I got to Derby that changed, but not instantly, it took a lot of doing.
"All the coaches believed in me and most of my friends thought I would go quite far but I didn't believe until the Commonwealths that I could get the medal.
"Some people get there, qualify first and then come last.
"I didn't want to be that person.
"I qualified first on the 100 and was like 'keep this going now and get the gold'."
He did so, and followed it up with gold in the medley relay, as well as silver in the 50m.
Peaty made a celebratory return to Uttoxeter after the Commonwealth Games, but just a day into his supposed holiday, he sent a text message to coach Mel Marshall that read: "Hey Mel. Can I get back in on Friday please? I want to do well at the Euros."
And that dedication paid off, with another gold in the 100m breaststroke, and another team gold, this time in the 4x100m mixed medley.
Peaty is firmly targeting the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and says the most recent Olympiad in London was the inspiration for his meteoric rise.
Then 17, he watched as Cameron van der Burgh broke the world record en-route to gold in the 100m breaststroke.
Two years later though, Peaty left the reigning Olympic champion trailing in his slipstream.
The South African had to settle for silver after being overhauled by Peaty in the final 15 metres in the Commonwealth title chase in Scotland.
Peaty's time of 58.94 made him the only British man ever to crack the 59-second mark.
He went one better in Berlin, clocking 58.68 to put him second in the all-time fastest swimmers (in a textile suit), behind van der Burgh.
"When I saw Van der Burgh break the world record in 2012 I was like 'if I work hard enough I can be like that'," he said.
"That gave me a lot of inspiration along the way. Racing him and getting gold was like 'Oh my God! Have I actually just done that?'
"I couldn't believe it when I looked at the scoreboard.
"Hopefully in two years time (at the 2016 Olympics) it's going to be a very good race."
It is certainly shaping up to be, with up to four of the current top five fastest 100m breaststroke swimmers in action as Australian Christian Sprenger and Kosuke Kitajima join Peaty and van der Burgh.
"Everyone wants to win," said Peaty.
"Cameron is a great guy, I've spoken to him a few times now, but they are all great guys and all worked hard to get there.
"Everyone wants to win but it's getting that balance right with respect at the same time – you've got to have respect for your peers.
"I want a lot more meets to get my good times out there and get up against those guys.
"When I see Sprenger and Van der Burgh – they are amazing, gold and silver Olympic medallists – but then I am like 'you can be like that if you keep carrying on like this'.
"Then there is that doubt which is saying it's not 100 per cent certain, anything can happen along the way.
"But that doubt will carry me all the way throughout my career and hopefully it does, it helps me a lot.
"I don't want to mention karma or anything but anything can happen between now and in two years' time, so I am not going to be over-confident saying this is a straight road to Rio.
"Because it is not – it's going to be like a rollercoaster."