Bendigo's Jenna Strauch surged to her first medal at international level when she finished second in the 200m breaststroke final at the FINA World Championships in Budapest.
In her first international final, Strauch made a steady start to be fourth at the halfway mark before a strong third lap put her alongside American race leader Kate Douglass.
In an enthralling final 50m, Strauch and American Lilly King went to the finish line together, with King claiming her ninth world championship gold medal in 2:22.41- just 0.63 of a second ahead of Strauch.
Douglass finished third - 0.16 of a second behind Strauch.
"It's a dream come true really,'' an elated Strauch said.
" I was just hoping to make the final and get all the experience I could so to walk away having stood on the podium has exceeded all my expectations.
"I've spent a lot of years rebuilding and only really been back in form these last few years so to stand here today is probably something I never expected would happen.
"I'm only going to grow as an athlete now and use this to hopefully move further up on the podium."
Strauch's silver was Australia's first medal in a women's breaststroke event at the World Championships since Leisel Jones in 2011.
Strauch, 25, was ninth in this event at last year's Tokyo Olympics, but has taken her swimming to another level in 2022..
She swam a career-best time to win her semi-final and was centimetres away from gold in the final.
"I expected a close race with the girls," Strauch told www.swimmingworldmagazine.com.
"I did not have specific expectations, just tried to enjoy it. It's only a few more days to go with a lot of exciting races so I would like to enjoy it with the team. It's good to race here as the crowd is amazing."
Strauch still has two more events to swim in Budapest - the 50m breaststroke and the 4 x 100m medley relay.
Her brilliant form augurs well for next month's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
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