Jarrod Poort will go head-to-head with his best friend for a plane ticket to the Rio Olympics after being the first Australian home at the 10km open water national swimming championships in Queensland.
The 21-year-old from NSW finished third at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday in a time of one hour, 59 minutes and 35 seconds.
Poort was only eight seconds behind the winner, America's reigning world champion Jordan Wilimovsky, while Great Britain's Jack Burnell was second.
Poort, who swum the 1500m freestyle at the London Olympics, earned the chance to take on West Australia's Simon Huitenga in the final Rio qualifying race in Portugal in June.
The first Australian male and female to finish in the top nine or the first Oceania qualifier will take the one men's open water spot for the Rio Games.
"It was so good having all the internationals here, adding a touch of class to this race and with the Australians providing a race within the race," said Poort.
"It's been a long process and now I'll get the chance to race Simon in Portugal. We are room mates and best mates but there can only be one winner."
In the women's race, Chelsea Gubecka confirmed her status as Australia's No.1 Olympic contender by winning the gold medal in a time of 2:04.29.
Like Huitenga - who came home in eighth on Saturday - Gubecka had already booked a place for the Portugal race-off by a strong performance at last year's open water world championships.
Gubecka will battle for the one women's berth against Mooloolaba's Kareena Lee, who was just over a minute-and-a-half behind the Queenslander in second.