The form guide for the women's 400m freestyle can never truly be considered complete until we have seen the best of Federica Pellegrini, the Italian world champion and record holder - but that won't happen until racing gets underway at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Even so, we know a touch more after Allison Schmitt, like Dana Vollmer before her tonight, tested what it will take to go beyond the speed of shiny. Coached by Phelps mentor Bob Bowman at North Baltimore, Schmitt showed her hand not so much with a 4:02.84 victory at US Olympic Trials in Omaha this evening but with splits of 57.50 (1.16sec inside Pellegrini 2009) and 1.58.34 (1.08sec inside Pellegrini 2009).
By the 300m mark, Schmitt had slipped behind the Italian's 2009 pace by 0.46sec, swimming mercifully back in vogue, the buoy of bodysuits gone. On 3:00.39 at 300m, Schmitt maintained form, stroke and poise for a further 50m before visibly starting to falter with about 25m to go on the way to moving up to third in the world this year behind Camille Muffat (FRA) and Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington (GBR).
"I've had a great year of training and I'm excited to see where I am with my swims," Schmitt said.
The splits compared:
The second US berth for London went to Chloe Sutton in 4:04.18, a 4:05.00 granting Kathleen Ledecky third place and a lifetime best for a 15-year-old who arrived in Olympic year with a best of 4:10.39. In May she gave warning at the the Charlotte Grand Prix on 4:05.79. If she is a name to watch on the way to Rio so too is that of Rebecca Mann, on 4:08.65 in 6th. She is 14.
The 2012 Consistency Charts:
The only other swimmer inside 4:04 this season is Kylie Palmer (AUS).
Keep up with our headlines @swimnewscom
The US London 2012 qualifiers after two days (USA Swimming's stance on silver medallist - "Second-place finishers did not officially qualify for the team Tuesday, but will likely be added to the roster pending swimmers qualifying in multiple events").