Preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games didn’t really go according to plan for 25-year-old James Magnussen, as the Aussie was forced to sit on the sidelines at last year’s preparation meet, the FINA World Championships, due to a nagging shoulder injury. The 2012 Olympic silver medalist underwent surgery last year and made his return to racing at the Victorian Open this past January.
Then at Australia’s Olympic Trials in April, ‘Maggie’ battled his way to 4th in the individual 100m freestyle event, missing out at a chance to go for gold in the event in Rio. But, the two-time World Champion did his part on the green and gold’s 4×100 freestyle relay on the world stage, helping the squad claim the Olympic bronze.
More than 3 months removed from Rio, Magnussen was nowhere to be seen at his nation’s Short Course Championships in Brisbane this past weekend, although he wasn’t the only star to be absent from the Short Course World Championships-qualifying meet. 200m freestyle Olympic bronze medalist Emma McKeon and world record holder Cate Campbell were just two of several elite athletes who also opted out of the competition.
Magnussen’s agent, Mark Jones, told SwimSwam exclusively that ‘James will be back in the water after an extended post-Olympic break until January 1, 2017.’
Still continuing to train with Mitch and Lach Falvey out of Ravenswood Swim Club, Mangussen ‘plans a very full schedule of racing actually in 2017 with racing planned in both the USA and Europe around the Arena sponsored meets in the US, European events such as French Open, Mare Nostrum and Sette Colli as well as selected World Cup events.’
Details will unfold as Magnussen’s camp says, ‘the exact program is yet to be decided’, but there will be extensive racing for certain.
So when will Maggie fans get to see their stud on a big-time international swimming stage? It may or may not be the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The meet is ‘being considered in conjunction with the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast’, says Magnussen’s representative.
‘Trials for the Commonwealth Games are late 2017, so there are considerations about when and how to peak and taper for different events and how this will all fit together. Clarity will start to form once James is back in the water on January 1’
Important to note is that Australian Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren may be engaging in a new method of roster determination for the Commonwealth Games this time around. As reported back in March of this year, in a radical change from the traditional trials process that’s been in place for 40 years, the Aussie athletes will be pre-selected.
With the 2018 Commonwealth Games taking place on the Gold Coast in April of the same year as the next Pan Pacific Championships, Verhaeren says Swimming Australia will preselect swimmers for both competitions based on who wins individual medals at the 2017 World Championships. The remainder of the contenders will proceed with trials as normal to fill in the rest of the roster.
As such, even if Maggie doesn’t compete at the 2017 World Championships themselves, there is still an opportunity for him to clinch a spot in the Gold Coast line-up.
Bottom line, Maggie’s camp assures the following, ‘There is certainly no setback regarding James’ shoulder which continues to move very positively towards 100%.’