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.