Having battled an extensive shoulder injury that required surgery in 2015, Australian speedster James Magnussen has struggled to return to form since his back-to-back World Championship title-winning days. The 2011 and 2013 100m freestyle gold medalist at Worlds and silver medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games, Magnussen sat out the 2015 and 2017 World Championships, so the recent Commonwealth Games served as the 26-year-old’s biggest international debut in several years.
Finishing 4th in the 100m at his nation’s qualifying Trials, Magnussen was left off the roster in his pet event individually, but made the Commonwealth squad in the 50m freestyle, as well as the 4x100m freestyle relay. At the Games, Maggie helped the Australians win the relay with a speedy leg of 48.09, but had to settle for 6th in the splash n’ dash with an ordinary 22.05.
The Port Macquarie native opted out of competing at his nation’s Pan Pacific Championship Trials, Australia’s next elite competition, thus foregoing an opportunity to improve upon his 100m freestyle bronze medal from the 2014 edition of the multi-national event.
In face, Maggie may be foregoing future competitions as a whole, with the vocal sprint star now contemplating retirement. Per Aussie Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren, Magnussen’s decision on outright retirement is sitting at a “50-50” chance.
Says Verhaeren to The Sydney Morning Herald this week, “The only one who can make a decision is James himself and we want to give as good a guidance when he needs it but we will leave it up to him – I don’t have an idea.
“He is figuring out what he wants to do in life, and as a result what he wants to do in swimming,” he said. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
One potential career option is the real estate industry, a sector in which Magnussen dabbled when recuperating from shoulder surgery in 2015. He bought a property, revamped it and tried a quick flip sale, but the unit wound up being on the market for some time before finally selling.
Whatever he decides, Verhaeren says, “We want to support him as much as we can, whether he decides to continue his career in the pool or transition his way out.”
In the short-term the Australians will be left without Magnussen on their Pan Pacs roster, as they will also be missing speedster Cameron McEvoy, just-off-suspension Thomas Fraser-Holmes, injured David McKeon, as well as injured Bronte Campbell.