CAMERON McEvoy's idea of what is possible in the pool is being stretched.
And it could lead to a breakout performance from the man already hailed as the fastest swimmer in history in a textile suit.
McEvoy swims with his mind as much as his body and while he won't be on the blocks, world champion Caleb Dressel will be the man pushing the Gold Coast sprinter as much as any of his competitors at this week's Commonwealth Games swimming trials.
American Dressel was the star of last year's world championships, winning the 100m freestyle in 47.17 sec to become the third-fastest man in history in a textile suit.
The top spot is held by McEvoy.
The 23-year-old - who was fourth behind Dressel in Budapest last year - could choose to feel threatened by Dressel's performance.
Instead, he is excited, saying the American has expanded his ideas about what is possible in the two-lap dash.
"It's exciting. It reminds me of the days just before I went a 47.04 when Maggie dropped the 47.10," he said of two-time world champion James Magnussen, who will line up beside him at this week's trials.
"I was so hungry to get up and at least match what he did.
"Not so much because I had this burning desire to beat him, but because I had a burning desire to match what he did because I thought it was so remarkable.
"I really wanted to feel like I had done something special, too."
Dressel's performances have given McEvoy that same feeling.
"The way that he executed that race is very different to what me and James had done," McEvoy said.
"Seeing it done in a different way kind of stretches that little box that you thought contained that speed."
A box, or, in McEvoy's mind, a sphere inside which each new mark in the event pushes the boundary, making a bigger vessel over time.
"Magnussen in 2012 created a pretty big dent in that sphere when he went 47.10 and then when I went 47.04, I replicated that," he said.
"And then Caleb's come along and he's done it in a completely different way and he's brought his own little expansion to that sphere which allows more volume of creative thought into improving that 100m.
"It does make it very exciting. It makes me think 'imagine what I could do if I had his technical skills with my swimming ability'."
That's partly what McEvoy has been working on for the past several months, increasing his leg strength in a bid to replicate some of the explosive power that Dressel gets from his starts and turns.
McEvoy is his own man though and he does not want to lose the easy speed that led to him becoming the world's fastest.
"I've got to keep to my own strengths but in doing that, I can also improve the other areas and maybe get those other one per centers," he said.
McEvoy will swim the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle at trials, taking on some of the best fields ever assembled in Australia.
"I'm going to be standing up in that 100m against some very tough competitors, which is exciting," he said.
"We're very lucky domestically to have such strong depth in the events that I do.
"The 100m free and 200m free here, it's crazy.
"The time that I went to qualify for the London Olympics in 2012 is ranked 13th in the entry time in the 200m freestyle, which is incredible.
"It just shows the evolution of those events over the past few years, which is exciting for the sport.
"It makes for a much tougher competition but it's definitely exciting for the sport."
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