Xu Jiayu won gold and Mitch Larkin dug deep on the second length to take bronze in the 100m backstroke on day three of the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
While the two arena swimmers occupied the first and third step on the podium, Ryosuke Irie of Japan was sixth.
Xu was third at the turn before overhauling the swimmers in front of him to win in 52.43.
Larkin was seventh at the halfway point but produced the quickest split in the field on the second 50 of 27.18 to move into the bronze medal position in 52.77, locking out the Olympic champion Ryan Murphy by 0.01secs.
The 26-year-old, who was world champion in Kazan, Russia, in 2015, knew he had been in a real battle to get the medal with just 0.05secs separating third from fifth.
Larkin said: “I knew Murphy and the Brazilian (Guilherme Guido) were going to be out quick, I just said try and go out with them, let them draw you out.
“But I knew with 25m out it was going to be a dog-fight and it was going to be about who wants it more
“I said to Dean (coach Dean Boxall), I want this pretty bad. I just said to myself ‘you have been through a fair bit, dig deep and see what happens’.
“I did a double take after I got (Olympic champion) Ryan Murphy on the wall, I thought he was going to be the one who won it”
He added: “I am over the moon – I’ve never won an individual worlds bronze so I can tick that one off the list.
“Mum always jokes that it is nice to have the set to be honest – it’s about standing on the podium again.”
Larkin will return on Wednesday morning to contest the heats of the 200m individual medley in which he heads the world rankings.
Adam Peaty swam the fifth-fastest 50m in history to sweep into the final while Kristof Milak and Chad le Clos are first and fifth respectively in to the 200m butterfly final.
Sarah Sjostrom reached the final of the 200m freestyle with the Swede going through in fourth place in 1:55.70.