Magnussen’s 47.7 ties him for most sub-48 swims in history

  8 Jared Anderson | January 17th, 2014 | Australia, Brazil, Latin America & Caribbean, Europe, Featured, International, News

When Australia’s James Magnussen went 47.73 put his name atop the 100 free standings on the first night of the Victorian State Championships, he also moved to number one on a bigger list. Magnussen’s 47.7 was the 12th time in his career he’s been under 48 seconds, tying frenchman Alain Bernard for the most sub-48 swims, according to numbers compiled by BestSwimming.

What makes Magnussen’s achievement arguably more impressive than Bernard’s, though, is that all twelve of Magnussen’s 47s have come in textile suits, while Bernard swam all of his sub-48-second 100s between 2008 and 2009 in the buoyant tech suits now banned by FINA.

Only two swimmers have ever been under 47 – the two being Bernard and World Record-holder Cesar Cielo. Both were done in 2009 at the very peak of the bodysuit era, and in fact Bernard’s 46.94 was never admissible as a world record because his suit wasn’t approved by FINA. It ended up not mattering for World Record standing when Cielo went 46.91 a few months later at the World Championships in Rome.

Cielo sits third on the all-time sub-48 list behind Magnussen and Bernard with 11 swims under the mark, and two of his were done after the tech suits were banned.

Still, Magnussen’s historic swim adds more and more excitement to the future of male sprinting. The Australian appears far from done breaking the 48-barrier, finding a new spark recently after a disappointing 2012 season. It sure appears Magnussen will have plenty opportunities over the next several years to put himself well ahead of Bernard’s 12 sub-48 swims, and without doubt, the swimming community is waiting with bated breath to see if one of those swims might indeed be the first-ever textile 46.

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8 Comments on "Magnussen’s 47.7 ties him for most sub-48 swims in history"

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2 years 9 months ago

I get the impression that Magnussen will be one of those guys that can’t swim their best at the Olympics.

2 years 9 months ago

My eyebrows literally raised when I first saw the 47.7 for Mags in the initial headline, as I can’t remember the last time we saw a 47 in January.

Also, that is damn impressive that he did all 12 of his swims in textile whereas 0 of Bernard’s, and only 2 of Cielo’s 11, were in textile. You really can’t compare those other two swimmers with him at all.

Rich, you could be right, as he definitely had mental lapses at his first Olympics. However, those lapses were associated in time with some very immature behavior including complex group behavior instead of just your garden-variety case of nerves. He has a good chance to correct that thinking and behavior and put it behind him whereas performance anxiety alone is associated more with longstanding personality traits, and can be a tougher nut to crack. Time will tell.

Justin Thompson
2 years 9 months ago

The time is impressive, the number of times under 48 without a body suit is amazing, but in that 100m freestyle final anything can happen. There isn’t much room for error or an off race and that is what makes it so exciting. Usually there are 3 or 4 who could legitimately win it.

I don’t think maggy coming up short a few times is mental as much as he didn’t have his best swim when it counted the most. He’s no doubt consistently swimming fast throughout the year, but outside the 50m free take another race and there’s more flexibility for mistakes and making up for them.

2 years 9 months ago


I agree, but at the same time you could hardly say his showing in London was disappointing. He ran down Adrian and just lost at the touch. Sometimes the race just isn’t there.

Beyond excited for Rio though. The 100 is going to be insane. Vlad is older, Ervin is back, Marcelo is graduated and focusing on long course, Cesar is past his rough years (hopefully) and Adrian and Magnussen are staples in the top 8. Throw in Yannick and possibly Cullen Jones and you are looking at an insane race. I think it is truly going to be a toss up.

2 years 9 months ago

No love for McEvoy who swam a 47 and finished fourth at worlds, and is actually still a teenager?

2 years 9 months ago

as much as I love Anthony Ervin, I don’t see him or Jones as contenders for the 100 free in Rio. I would replace those two names with Dressel and Feigen. I would love to be proven wrong about Ervin though

2 years 9 months ago

If all guys swim that race on Rio I would bet the finalists would be:


But I don´t know if Cielo will race that or only relay.. if he is out I would bet on Verschuren (if he returns to his 2012 form) for that last spot..

2 years 9 months ago

I would also include Florent Manaudou. He has moved from 50m to 100m last year, has made it immediately to the French relay team (world champs in Barcelona in 2013) and I am sure he will soon go under 48 seconds.
The thing is there are so many French swimmers as top performers in the 100m freestyle (meaning under 48″30) that even getting the first 2 spots to the Olympics will be a challenge.


About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career sixteen years and running wasn’t enough for this native Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for, covering swimming at every …

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