Australian freestyle star James Magnussen will undergo shoulder surgery and is officially out of this summer’s World Championships, Swimming Australia reports.
Magnussen is one of the world’s most dangerous sprinters, a former Olympic silver medalist in the 100 free and last summer’s Commonwealth Games gold medalist in the event. Swimming Australia reports that Magnussen has “significant damage” to his left shoulder, causing him lose 70% of its strength.
The 24-year-old Magnussen will undergo surgery in early June, according to Swimming Australia, the nation’s governing body for swimming. Experts apparently agreed that surgery was the best option for Magnussen’s long-term health. Recovery from the surgery will prevent him from competing at the FINA World Championships this July and August in Kazan, Russia.
The injury is apparently one that’s been nagging Magnussen for some time now. He pulled out of the Canberra Grand Prix meet a few weeks ago to rest it, and has had issues with it since at least February. Magnussen has a sub-scapular muscle tear, though his coach downplayed the injury earlier this week, saying he was confident Magnussen would be in Kazan ready to aim for a World title three-peat in the 100 free.
The loss of Magnussen is a huge blow to the Australian squad, both in terms of individual medals and relay depth. Magnussen and Cameron McEvoy made up perhaps the best 1-2 punch of 100 freestylers in the world, Magnussen currently sits third in our world rankings with McEvoy second. Australia looked to have a shot at gold in the 4×100 free relay, but doing so without Magnussen will be a tall order.