Charlie Hawke credits a move to the United States for his strong performances at the Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide two weeks ago.
The Rankin Park 19-year-old made three finals, finishing second in the 200-metre butterfly, sixth in the 200m freestyle and seventh in the 400m freestyle.
While he missed selection for this year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Hawke was named in the Australia A team to compete at the US National Championships in Irvine, California next month.
"I was very happy with my results," Hawke told the Newcastle Herald. "I did a lot of personal best times, which is the main thing, and I made three A finals in my three main events.
"It was the first time consistently up there competing for championships and it was an awesome experience to even be considering possible selection for the Commonwealth Games.
"Unfortunately, I missed out, which was a little disappointing, but I was fortunate enough to be picked in what is like a development team for up and coming swimmers in the Australia A team and I'm really excited for that experience and for my first time representing Australia."
Swimming Australia named two teams after the national titles, one for the world championships in Budapest, Hungary (June 17-July 3) and the other for the Birmingham Games in England (July 28-August 8).
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"It was cool to see some of my friends make their first Australian team and that sort of fuelled the fire to hopefully get on a team next year," Hawke said.
"It was really cool to have so many time drops and to be up there really fighting. That was my first open medal in the 200 fly and adds fuel to the fire to have a good next 12 months, swim fast at that US nationals in California then hopefully come back and get myself onto a team next year or even in two years for the Paris Olympics."
Hawke has just completed his first year at the University of Alabama after securing a spot on their swim team for four years under an Athletic scholarship program. He is also studying a double degree in Electrical Engineering and Physics.
The University of Alabama sent him out to the Australian Swimming Championships with a coach to trial for a spot on the Australian swim team.
"It's been amazing to get that opportunity where I can get a good degree and also focus on my swimming," he said.
"I'm learning so much through all of the people who are over there and I feel like I've progressed a lot in terms of my swimming."
Hawke, who trained with Hunter Swim Club at The Junction before taking up the US offer, returns overseas on Monday.
But first he has a "busy" weekend ahead competing in the Coast and Valley Swimming Association Winter Short Course Championships at Woy Woy.
"I'm excited to swim a local area meet again and hopefully I can encourage the next generation coming through," Hawke said.
"I've got a busy schedule. At smaller carnivals, I like to do more events just to hopefully get some good times for the events that I don't swim so often."