The Iron Lady's journey from nightmares to dreamland

Hungary's Katinka Hosszu bites her gold medal at the women's 200m individual medley victory ceremony during the World Swimming Championships at the Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona July 29, 2013.

It was an Olympic debut from Katinka Hosszu's worst nightmares.

The Hungarian swim star endured a disastrous outing at last year's London Games, starting with her finishing fourth in the 400m individual medley and missing her first Olympic medal by 0.58sec.

She then missed out on the 200m butterfly final by just 0.37.

Rattled by her near-misses, the swimmer nicknamed "The Iron Lady" flopped badly in her pet event, the 200m IM, finishing last in the final, posting slower times than she did in the heats and semi-final.

Yet, her coach Shane Tusup insisted that he would not have it any other way.

In town with Hosszu for the Singapore leg of the Fina Swimming World Cup, he said on Monday: "She walked away with something more valuable than a gold medal.

"We wouldn't have the Iron Lady today if we didn't walk away with fourth place (in the 400m IM). Now, she doesn't let anything get to her."

Indeed, since her London nightmare, Hosszu has improved by leaps and bounds.

In July's world championships, the 24-year-old made the podium three times, winning both 200 and 400 IMs and shaving almost three seconds off her times at the Olympics. She then topped it off with a bronze in the 200 fly.

She was also in peak condition at the Berlin and Eindhoven legs of the Fina World Cup in August, smashing three short-course records.

Said Hosszu, who swam in a whopping 12 events at the last two World Cup legs in Dubai and Doha: "I'm definitely in a better place now than I was in London.

"Back then, I was not as confident. Now I know what I can do exactly."

Meanwhile, Singapore swimmers Tao Li and Darren Lim will be hoping to make a splash on home soil.

Said Tao: "I feel better with each leg, and this is high intensity training for the upcoming SEA Games.

"I'm aiming for under 57 seconds in the 100m fly."

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