An individual global title still eludes Duncan Scott but once again in Fukuoka, Alloa’s medal magnet came so very close.

The 26-year-old, in his only solo event at the world swimming championships, surged to a superb silver in the men’s 200 metres individual medley with British rival Tom Dean picking up bronze.

The duo had to bow to Frenchman Leon Marchant who claimed his third gold of the event with a European record of 1:54.82 which was the third-fastest time in history.

Scott’s punishing push on the closing freestyle left him just outside his UK record in clocking 1:55.95 but he reckons his Gallic rival could end up as one of the greats.

“I stuck to what I wanted to do really well,” he said. “I was just hurting at 150m more than I thought I would be - but to give myself a chance in the race, I knew I had to be there at 150m.

“I was really happy with that. You know the strengths of all the other boys - Leon's a 4:02 swimmer in 400m IM with a 2:06 breaststroke over 200m, so he's one of the best swimmers and in the next few years, we'll see, he might become one of the best-ever. It's pretty special getting to race him.”

Second, just as he was in this event at the Tokyo Olympics, but with another golden shot in today’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

With Matt Richards and Tom Dean coming 1-2 in the individual event – and Scott in prime form - the Olympic champions are on a mission to recapture the world crown with huge strength in depth.

“The 200m free, it's quite hard to qualify when you've got the two best in the world, and then the 200m IM there, with me and Deano,” the Scot said.

“It is really good. The quality that we've got, I guess, brings out a more competitive stance at the trials - I think that's really important for a meet like this, because it can be really close, and that's when you need to rise to your best.”

Dean is still hunting his first world gold but the private scrap with his good friend is a force for good for both, he underlined.

“I've obviously raced Duncan for years and shared podiums with him at the highest level and every domestic meet in between - so doing that again on the world stage just shows how dominant Britain are. Unfortunately we happen to be really dominant in all the events I swim. I always seem to find myself saying that - 200m free and 200m IM, we really are forces to be reckoned with.”

Lauren Cox surprised herself with bronze in the women’s 50m backstroke in 27.20 secs as Australia’s Kaylee McKeown edged out Canada’s Regan Smith by three-hundredths of a second for gold.

“I couldn't have asked for any more here,” the Englishwoman, 21, said. “When I got here, my goal was to make a final, so to come away with a medal is just incredible.”

For the second time in Fukuoka, the British women ended up fourth in the freestyle relays, squeezed out on the final leg of the 4x200 final by China.

Australia pulled away from the USA to win in 7:37.50 and lower the world record they set at last summer’s Commonwealth Games.

But the quartet of Freya Colbert, Abbie Wood. Freya Anderson and Scots star Lucy Hope battled royally for the podium before a poor last turn and a disappointing final length from Anderson sank their hopes of a breakthrough podium.

“I wasn't really happy with my split there, so I know there's still so much to improve on personally,” Hope said. “So if the four of us all improve that one per cent, we are in with a shout of the medals in the 4x100m free and 4x200m free.

“We've come fourth and really close to bronze. So over the next year, it's something to build on as a unit in GB. I know we've been at altitude a few times and I think training together, pushing each other every day just makes you want to work harder and be better.”

Australian Kyle Chalmers finally picked up an individual world title to add to his Olympic gold by winning the men’s 100m freestyle in 47.15 secs. But Richards was “gutted” to miss out on a golden double in fifth despite lowering his British record for the third race in a row with a time of 47.45 secs.

“Obviously missing out on the podium by three one hundredths stings, that hurts,” the Englishman, 21, said. “But likewise, the same as it was on the 200m but in the opposite way, it's just about keeping the emotions as flat as possible, move on and get ready for that 4x200m free.” 

16-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh defended her title in the women’s 200m butterfly with Londoner Laura Stephens seventh. However Kara Hanlon exited the 200m breaststroke in the heats, finishing 19th overall. The Western Islander is set for a third and last shot at making a final on her debut at the worlds in Sunday’s mixed medley relay.