Two-time World Champion James Magnussen has already made it known he will be opting out of the World Championships this year, but the 25-year-old sprinter is more focused than ever on the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Slated to be held on the Gold Coast within his home nation, Magnussen told The Australian recently that an elusive gold medal in the men’s 100m freestyle will be more difficult to achieve at the Commonwealth Games than even at this year’s World Championships in Budapest.
“I think more than the event itself, it’s the competition standard that I will have at this Commonwealth Games (that makes it so important),’’ ‘Maggie’ told The Australian. “World championships in the year after the Olympic Games, some people come, some people have the year off, like myself, so I don’t feel like it’s a true test of being back at the top of the sport and I think the Commonwealth Games will really provide that for me.’’
As for 2018, Maggie says he believes that Aussie teammate and 2016 Olympic Champion Kyle Chalmers, the textile best ever Cameron McEvoy, Canadian Santo Condorelli and on-the-rise Scottish dynamo Duncan Scott will be the major players vying for the top prize among Commonwealth nations in the men’s 100m freestyle.
“I think that’s going to be a great spectacle,’’ Magnussen said. “You will definitely see the best of the best. Not swimming at the world championships this year will allow me to focus solely on the Commonwealth Games.’’
After suffering a shoulder injury which put him out of Kazan and on the operating table, Magnussen says, “I was definitely quite dejected after Rio. I didn’t swim at the level I wanted to in Rio because my body didn’t allow me to do that. I had to rush it back and it didn’t feel good for the trials, didn’t feel good for the Olympics, but it feels awesome now.
“From the first stroke back after my break, something was different. I had strength and range of motion in my shoulder that I hadn’t had for two years. Now I feel as good as I did in 2012. I’m doing things in training that I haven’t been able to do for years. I have a bit of a new lease of life.’’
Last year, agent Mark Jones told SwimSwam 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.