As reported last month, 25-year-old Australian sprint star James Magnussen is back in the water, with the 2012 Olympic silver medalist having been back in full training with Mitch and Lach Falvey for approximately 3 weeks. Said to be ‘training very well’, Magnussen’s return to racing is tentatively set for the New South Wales State Championships, slated for early March.
Beyond that, however, ‘Maggie’ has confirmed that he will be opting out of the Australian National Championships and thus will not be competing at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. As his shoulder surgery took him out of training and competition in 2015, this year marks the 2nd consecutive World Championships in which ‘the missile’ will not be trying to regain his 100m freestyle title.
As such, the Ravenswood Club swimmer will be going all-in for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on home soil, and his feels good about that. He recently explained to Australian press that he feels better than he has since his surgery and is taking things full steam ahead for the Gold Coast Games.
“I sort of got back in the water after New Years and felt like I hadn’t felt in three years, without having done any training, so that’s really exciting for me and spurred me on to get back into it properly. The shoulder’s really good. It has really gone to a new level this year.
“… Jumping back in the water on January 2, I instantly knew on my first stroke that it (the shoulder) had a certain stability and strength that it didn’t have in those previous 18 months,” Maggie told Adelaide Now.
Although the official selection procedures for the 2018 Commonwealth Games have not yet been published, Aussie Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren has strongly hinted in the past that pre-selection will dominate the Dolphins roster for the meet. This is a radical change from the traditional process in place for 40 years, where swimmers earn the Games’ roster spots via specific trials, akin to qualifying for the Olympics via trials.
Last year, agent Mark Jones told SwimSwam exclusively that Magnussen was planning a full schedule of racing in 2017, which could potentially include appearances 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.
Magnussen says of his current status, “I’m feeling now I can swim faster (than I ever have). When I sit down and look over the past four years, I’m taller than I was back then. I had a growth spurt of about 3cm after London. I’m a lot stronger and I’m able to do things now from a fitness point of view I didn’t necessarily think important or couldn’t do as well back then.”
Should the green and gold’s major sprinters maintain their current trajectory, we could see a potential three-way match-up between the fastest man ever in a textile suit, Cameron McEvoy, against two-time world title winner Magnussen, as well as the young gun, 18-year-old Olympic gold medalist, Kyle Chalmers in that Gold Coast final.
“… I’ll be looking to peak for the Comm Games. I’ve never swum a big meet on home soil and, the way the 100m freestyle is, you’ve got the fastest man ever (McEvoy) and the Olympic champion (Chalmers).
“So if I win the Comm Games, I’m essentially winning a world title. That’s the way I view it and that’s the way I’m going to prepare for it. I’m going to put a lot of effort into it and that’s my primary objective.”