Swimmer David Davies promised an exciting future for the 1500m freestyle after winning bronze for Great Britain.
The 19-year-old Welshman smashed the British and European records but still finished behind Australian Grant Hackett - who set a new Olympic record - and America's Larsen Jensen.
"I didn't think I'd go that fast, I really hoped to put in a good result but nothing like that," Davies said.
"Normally when I race Grant he's miles ahead, but we were catching him."
Davies dug deep to clock 14 minutes 45.90 seconds, knocking an incredible 12 seconds off his personal best.
But Hackett, unbeaten since 1997, responded to set a new Olympic record time of 14:43.40, with Jensen - a year younger than Davies - taking silver close behind.
"Larsen got away from me a bit but I got a medal. It's one of the best races I've been in, it is the best feeling I have ever had," Davies added.
"Four years ago I never thought I would be in this position, I was just a 15-year-old in a Welsh Open meet so a bronze medal is fantastic.
"I am working hard and to be up here is where I want to be. I am only 19 and hopefully there are more good things to come.
"It's the best two weeks of my life, in fact it's been the best year of my life. I'm never going to forget this."
Hackett, only 24 himself, had praise for his two young rivals, revealing that their improvement would spur him on.
"For Kieren (Perkins) and I to be the only two people under 14.50 before tonight and then for these guys to break it by five seconds is awesome," Hackett said.
"I really look forward to the challenge over the coming years.
"I probably had my mind on the 200 and 400m freestyle, not realising these guys were going to jump such a standard.
"They have made me aware of how good they are. It's awesome to be pushed and to have a race.
"David has really picked up. At the trials this year I realised what a competitor he is becoming.
"No offence to him, but I didn't think technically he
was able to go that quick but he has proven me wrong.
"It has been a wake-up call and has been the inspiration I need to drive myself for the next four years."