James Magnussen is an Australian swimmer and two-time 2012 Olympic medalist. Born Apr. 11, 1991 Magnussen is a sprint freestyle specialist, and his best event is the 100m freestyle. At about 6’6″ he quickly became an international sprint force.
In 2010 he had a top-three finish at the Australian Championships, moving on to the Pan Pacific Championships and the Commonwealth Games. In just one of his first major international competitions, Magnussen won gold at the Commonwealth Games in the 400m freestyle relay.
Magnussen typically trains one or two sessions in the pool each day, accompanied by weightlifting as well as cycling at altitude in the early season. Because he is a raw sprinter, which requires strength and explosive power, he simulates those movements in the gym.
Fastest ever in textile suit
Magnussen is recognized as the fastest 100m swimmer in a textile suit – his Twitter bio claims that he’s the “Fastest man ever in a textile suit.” Also known as the Missile, Magnussen is a superstitious athlete – he always wears the same goggles if he wins in them. And for his perfect day off, he claims that he would want to take a trip to the beach with his friends.
Magnussen qualified for his first Australian National Team in 2010, when he finished third in the 100m freestyle at the Australian Championships. This kickstart took him to the Pan Pacific Championships, where he brought home a silver medal on the 400m freestyle relay, and the Commonwealth Games, where he won his first international gold medal as apart of the same relay.
First World Championships
2011 was a huge year for Magnussen – he won gold in the 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle relay at the World Championships in Shanghai. He also picked up a silver in the 400m medley relay.
In 2012 Magnussen qualified for his first Olympic Games, where he qualified in the 100m freestyle. In London he finished second in the 100m freestyle, just .01 seconds behind the U.S.’s Nathan Adrian, and third in the 400m freestyle relay.
Barcelona World Championships
At his second World Championships in 2013, Magnussen repeated his gold-medal win in the 100m freestyle, and he also earned a silver medal in the 400m medley relay. He was the repeat winner at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships.
At the 2014 Pan Pacific Games Magnussen won a gold in the 400m freestyle relay and a bronze medal in the 100m freestyle. In the same year he won gold in the 100m freestyle and 400m freestyle relay, silver in the 400m medley relay, and bronze in the 50m freestyle at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Magnussen was unable to defend his 100 meter freestyle world title in 2015 due to a shoulder injury that had been with him for some time. With damage to his left shoulder which caused him to lose 70 percent of his strength, it was decided shoulder surgery would be the best option for Magnussen’s long-term health.
Comeback from Injury
Not even a year out from having shoulder reconstructive surgery, Magnussen was at the 2016 Australian Championships to battle it out for a spot on his second Olympic team. In the 100 meter freestyle he was up against world number-one ranked Cameron McEvoy and young sprint specialist Kyle Chalmers. Magnussen went in to the final seeded second but managed only a 4th place finish. Despite the disappointment of missing out on an individual spot, he did earn a place on the 400 meter freestyle relay.
2016 Rio Olympics
In his only race in Rio, Magnussen earned a bronze medal as part of Australia’s 400 meter freestyle relay. He took over for the third leg in third position. His split of 48.11 saw Australia slip to fourth, but Cameron McEvoy anchored the team to finish third in 3:11.37.
2020 James Magnussen Appears in Three-Part SwimSwam Podcast
James takes SwimSwam through his swimming history up to the year 2011.