January 18th, James Magnussen returns to competition with his Australian mates to face-off with South Africa and China at the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series. See a complete roster of athletes, country by country, here.
Magnussen, Australia’s biggest star — or at least the swimmer who captured the most media — has much to prove after his disappointing performance at the 2012 London Olympic Games. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he has gone to “another level” preparing for the first meet of 2013. His coach, Brant Best, explained further to APP:
“He did a good job going into London but he has found another level. He has been amazing at training.”
After a lot of pre-London chest thumping, the Magnussen lead 4×100 freestyle relay only netted 4th, and Team USA’s Nathan Adrian snatched the Olympic gold from Magnussen in the 100 freestyle, swimming’s blue ribbon event. Coach Best is correct. Magnussen actually swam well given his tender age, 21, and that it was his first Olympic Games. Aussie journalists, however, were not so understanding.
Magnussen, described by some of his teammates as intense and too hard on himself, did not need a lot of motivation getting back into the season. Coach Best told APP, he was pipped by American Nathan Adrian in London.
“We reviewed the race (the London Olympic 100 freestyle) and looked at what went right and wrong, but a lot of things went right in the process for preparing for London. We don’t want to throw everything away.”
Coach Best is excited about the upcoming Perth competition with it’s super-sized $500,000 purse, something he feels Swimming Australia needs to take the temperature of Aussie Team culture.
Several swimming stars will take to the blocks January 18th, notably Christian Sprenger, Alicia Coutts, Emily Seebohm, China’s Ye Shiwen and South Africa’s Chad le Clos, famous for out-touching Michael Phelps in his signature event, the 200 meters butterfly.