SWIMMING: Self-confessed science geek Cameron McEvoy has swimming's coveted sprint double in his sights at the world championships in Russia.
McEvoy's chances have been boosted by the absence of reigning champions James Magnussen (100m freestyle) and France's Yannick Agnel (200m).
And the 21-year-old budding astro-physicist is aiming for the stars, believing he can produce career-best form after overcoming a recent slump.
He says he backed the "best five weeks of preparation of my career" with his worst month in the pool in May but managed to turn it around.
"Swimming is a lot like lightning, electrons go from a negative place to a positive one, said McEvoy, an advanced honours physics student.
"Everything in life is a lot like that.
"When you are hit with that negative you do all you can to get to a positive place.
"In the end I was able to get to a place when I was training even better.
"That gave me confidence."
McEvoy is ranked world No.3 in the 100m this year (48.02 seconds) but his PB (47.65) - set when he upstaged Magnussen at last year's national titles - would have also claimed 2013 world championship gold (47.71).
Pan Pacs 100m champion McEvoy is primed to tangle with hometown favourite Vladimir Morozov and Olympic gold medallist Nathan Adrian of the US in the 100m freestyle at Kazan, with Magnussen (shoulder) sidelined.
The door is also open in the 200m for the world top five-ranked, reigning national 200m champion with the withdrawal of Agnel (pleurisy).
But McEvoy does not have to be told what looks good in theory may not provide results when put to the test.
"Statistically, it does create the opportunity for myself to break through - it would be a dream to achieve something like that," McEvoy said of a sprint double.
"On paper, if I do a best time, it should at least get me a medal (in the 100m) but more often than not paper doesn't necessarily correlate to reality.
"I do think about it (world titles podium). It lingers in the back of my mind but I know better than to focus on that.
"(However) it is exciting that the prospect of a world title is up for grabs.
"What is even more exciting is that I have been swimming so well in my preparation that I can go there and swim the best I have ever done."
The Australian team fly in from their Doha camp on Wednesday with swimming action starting at Kazan on Sunday.