Sycerika McMahon narrowly missed out on setting a new 200m individual medley personal best as she finished an encouraging 12th in the event in the European Championships on Wednesday.
After qualifying 13th for the semi-finals in Berlin with a 2:15.46 clocking in the morning, McMahon improved to 2:14.42 in the evening.
That was only .04secs outside her personal best set last year.
McMahon will be in action in her main event the 50m breaststroke on Saturday.
The 19-year-old's time was .74 outside a qualification spot but after her recent struggles in the Commonwealth Games and early exit from the 100m breaststroke on Tuesday, Wednesday's performance represented progress.
Commenting after the race, she said: "it was good to get back for the semi-final but once again it's not what I'm looking for right now".
"It's a step in the right direction, I've improved since Commonwealth Games and that's what I need to keep doing.
"The IM is a work in progress for me and it can only get better from here".
McMahon's main event at the championships in Berlin will be the 50m breaststroke which starts on Saturday morning.
The Irish team member won silver in the event at the 2012 European Championships in Debrecen.
McMahon's team-mates Dan Sweeney, Nicholas Quinn and Brendan Hyland were also in action on Wednesday morning.
Dubliner Sweeney finished 24th in his main event with 200m butterfly after clocking 2:00.34.
In the 200m breaststroke, Quinn missed out on a semi-finals berth as he placed 22nd in 2:14.82 while Sweeney was disqualified in the same event.