Jazz Carlin says she has a renewed sense of confidence as she aims to reach Rio 2016.
It would be the Welsh swimmer's first Olympics and a chance to renew her rivalry with USA's world record holder Katy Ledecky.
Carlin won an 800m freestyle bronze at this year's World Championships as Ledecky set the mark.
"I'm starting to feel a lot more confident and believing in the training that I'm doing," said the 25-year-old.
"I just get really excited to race now." Carlin said.
"Katy is an incredible athlete - she's doing times that people think that couldn't be done by a woman, ever."
Carlin's priority is qualifying for next year's Olympics, having missed out on selection for London 2012.
"Confidence was definitely something I was really lacking after missing out on 2012. It did really put me down in the dumps," she said.
"I really want to book my place in the team. Obviously after what happened four years ago I definitely don't want to be in the same position again."
Carlin says she is "really happy" with her start to the season, which has seen two gold medals at the European Short Course Championships in Israel and success on American soil in the sport's equivalent to the Ryder Cup, the Duel in the Pool.
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While aiming to qualify in the 200m, 400m and 800m she sees the longer distances as her stronger events.
That is also where 18-year-old Ledecky has dominated in recent years to hold the 400m, 800m and 1500m world records.
Carlin acknowledged that Ledecky has had "a great few years", but added: "In sport nothing is guaranteed.
"There will be a lot of people in the medals you wouldn't even expect.
"I've just got to put my head down in training and work on everything I can do and then hopefully I can swim well off that."