MITCH Larkin says his performances in Olympic finals and not his dual gold medals at the world championships are the highlights of his career.
Larkin went into Rio as favourite in the 100m and 200m backstroke after claiming the double at the 2015 world championships in Russia.
He could only manage fourth in the 100m but bounced back in the 200m where he hung on for silver.
He finished the meet with a bronze in the medley relay.
Larkin says while the quality of swimmer and performance at world championships is the same as the Olympics, the difference in status creates another level of pressure.
"The difference between saying you're a world champ and you're an Olympic champ is massive," Larkin said.
"So I think that's a big mental game.
"For me that's all it was, I went in putting a little bit of pressure on myself and wanting the best swims out of myself and unfortunately Ryan Murphy got the better of me in the 200m and I finished fourth in the 100m.
"Looking back now that is a result I am pretty proud of.
"It's not the best result because everyone wants gold and it's only silver and a bronze and a fourth, but they are the ones that mean absolutely the most to me."
At the national championships at Chandler, starting on Sunday, Larkin will attempt to book a spot on the Australian side for the world championships in a bid to defend his titles.
He says he cannot honestly predict how fast he will swim having completely changed his training program this year.
In search of a new edge post-Rio he announced he was parting company with long-time mentor Michael Bohl.
He trialled with a series of coaches, including Ian Thorpe's mentor Tracey Menzies in Canberra and Richard Scarce, who coaches Cameron McEvoy on the Gold Coast.
He swam the national short-course titles without a coach late last year where he won everything and claimed another world title in the 100m at the world short-course titles.
On his return he joined Simon Cusack, who also mentors the Campbell sisters.
"It is scary, there were session with Simon and he made me look like I was learning to swim," Larkin said.
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