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Australia's Elijah Winnington, the world's top-ranked freestyler over 400 metres, says it's difficult.
He wants to treat the Olympic Games as just another swim meet.
"I know I am going to be racing the world's best," Winnington told reporters on Tuesday.
"But at the end of the day, it's another pool, just in another country.
"And it's just going to be another meet - the distance of the race doesn't change, all I can control is how I swim it and how fast I can swim it."
But the 21-year-old, entered in both the 200m and 400 freestyle at the Tokyo Games, admitted maintaining that mindset was "really difficult" when he's about to make his Olympic debut.
"The Olympics is the pinnacle ... it's pretty hard to just sit back and say 'yeah, I'm going to treat it like just another meet'," he said.
"I like to think I can perform under pressure and I perform well with nerves, so if it makes me a little bit more nervous or if I have a little bit more pressure on my back, I don't actually see that as a bad thing.
"But at the same time, I like to just try and simplify it and say it is just another meet because at the end of the day I can't be stressing about it, because then I am just wasting energy when I don't need to be."
Winnington hasn't even raced at senior level against his rivals from around the world.
"I have actually never swum the 400 freestyle or 200 freestyle individually at an international meet at the senior level," he said.
"I have never raced the people I am coming up against unless I raced them as a junior.
"So I really have no expectations because I don't know how they race and they don't know how I race.
"I can really only focus on the effort that I put in training and the race plan that I can execute on the day.
"Whatever the others do or whatever the experience is like, I just have to narrow it down to just doing what I can control."