Magnussen hurtling to London

2012-03-22 13:56

Adelaide - James Magnussen backed up his boasts with a freestyle sprint double in the year's fastest times to be the standout performer at Australia's Olympic trials, which finished on Thursday.

"The Missile" wanted to send a clear message to his rivals at the London Games and did so with emphatic wins in the 50m (21.74) and 100m (47.10) to shoot to the top of the world rankings.

National dismay over Olympic great Ian Thorpe's failed comeback at the trials quickly subsided as Magnussen reeled off a string of eye-popping swims over the past week just four months out from London.

Moments after leaving the pool having swum within 0.19 of Brazilian Cesar Cielo's 100m world record set in a now-banned hi-tech swimsuit, world champion Magnussen warned his Olympic gold medal rivals to "brace yourselves."

Magnussen then produced three personal best times - carving an incredible 0.67sec off his best one-lap mark - to win the 50m freestyle at the trials and put himself in the frame for a second gold medal in London.

"I've had six races, six wins and six improvements on my time," Magnussen said of his week's work.

"I go into every race backing myself and I'll certainly be confident going into this event in London - people are going to sit up and take notice."

Magnussen is bidding to become the first Australian man to win the 100m freestyle Olympic gold medal since Michael Wenden in Mexico in 1968.

Magnussen is targeting the 100m world record in London and is holding nothing back.

"I'll be doing everything in my power to break that world record because I want to be considered the fastest man in history," he said.

Australia head coach Leigh Nugent said: "He's the real deal, he's the full package. Maggy (Magnussen) has brought a lot of attention and he's just a wonderful character," he said.

"He's something different. He's prepared to put himself out there, to talk it up a bit and that's been really good for us."

In contrast, five-time Olympic champion Thorpe has vowed to continue with his comeback despite missing out on selection.

Thorpe, 29, failed to reach the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle after bombing out in the 200m event.

The Olympic great, who emerged from a six-year retirement to give himself 18 months to prepare for a shot at London, said the bitter disappointment would not stop him from planning ahead to his next competition.

"I've missed out on what was a huge goal for me to accomplish in this short period of time, but still the desire I had before this, it's still there. I still want to swim," Thorpe said.

It was also disappointment for two more pool veterans, Geoff Huegill, 33, and Michael Klim, 34, who both missed out on Olympic selection.

But three-time Olympic champion Libby Trickett, 27, will be off to London after squeezing into the sprint relay team with a fifth place in the 100m freestyle final.

Former breaststroke queen Leisel Jones, 26, will compete at her fourth Olympics in the 100m event, while triple Olympic champion Stephanie Rice will defend both her medley titles in London.

Rice bettered the year's best by Briton Hannah Miley in winning the 200m medley in 2:09.38 after taking out the 400m medley on the opening night.

Jessicah Schipper will swim in both butterfly events and Kylie Palmer is down for three freestyle swims.

Brenton Rickard, the world record holder in the 100m, qualified for both breaststroke events.

Controversial swimmer Nick D'Arcy, who was kicked off the Australian team for the Beijing Olympics for an assault on the night he was selected for the 2008 Games, will get his chance in London following his commanding win in the 200m butterfly.

Meanwhile, Australia unveiled a team of 44 swimmers for the London Olympics on the final night of the selection trials in Adelaide on Thursday.

Half the team, comprising 21 men and 23 women, will be making their Olympic debuts with Leisel Jones set to become the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Games.

The team will be spearheaded by 100m freestyle world champion James Magnussen (in the 50m and 100m), defending Olympic 200/400m individual medley champion Stephanie Rice, breaststroker Brenton Rickard and butterflyer Jessicah Schipper.

Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell will become the first siblings in 40 years to be selected in Australia's Olympic swimming team after finishing one-two in the 50m freestyle on Thursday's final night of competition.

The last siblings to swim for Australia at an Olympics were Neil and Greg Rogers and Karen and Narelle Moras, all in the same team at Munich in 1972.

Triple Olympic champion Libby Trickett, who has swum at two Olympics, is part of the sprint relay team after missing out on an individual swim in the 50m freestyle on the final night of the trials.

Head coach Leigh Nugent said he was impressed with the strength of the Australian team and the positive racing at the Olympic trials.

"We've seen some great swimming this week and depth in many events," Nugent said.

"Our relay strength looks very good like it was in Beijing - if not better, and our sprinters have led the way in terms of world rankings," Nugent said.

"The racing for individual swims in London has raised the bar here at our trials and now the job is to do everything possible to best prepare for the Games in July."

The Australian swimming team for the London Olympics:


50m freestyle: James Magnussen, Eamon Sullivan
100m freestyle: James Magnussen, James Roberts
200m freestyle: Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Kenrick Monk
400m freestyle: David McKeon, Ryan Napoleon
100m backstroke: Hayden Stoeckel, Daniel Arnamnart
200m backstroke: Mitch Larkin, Matson Lawson
100m breaststroke: Christian Sprenger, Brenton Rickard
200m breaststroke: Brenton Rickard, Jeremy Meyer
100m butterfly: Chris Wright, Jayden Hadler
200m butterfly: Nick D'Arcy, Chris Wright
200m individual medley: Daniel Tranter, Jayden Hadler
400m individual medley: Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Daniel Tranter
4x100m freestyle: James Magnussen, James Roberts, Matt Targett, Eamon Sullivan, Cameron McEvoy, Tommaso D'Orsogna
4x200m freestyle: Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Kenrick Monk, David McKeon, Ned McKendry, Ryan Napoleon, Cameron McEvoy
4x100m medley relay: selected in London
Open Water: Ky Hurst


50m freestyle: Cate Campbell, Bronte Campbell
100m freestyle: Melanie Schlanger, Cate Campbell
200m freestyle: Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer
400m freestyle: Kylie Palmer, Bronte Barratt
800m freestyle: Kylie Palmer, Jessica Ashwood
100m backstroke: Emily Seebohm, Belinda Hocking
200m backstroke: Belinda Hocking, Meagen Nay
100m breaststroke: Leiston Pickett, Leisel Jones
200m breaststroke: Tessa Wallace, Sally Foster
100m butterfly: Alicia Coutts, Jessicah Schipper
200m butterfly: Jessicah Schipper, Samantha Hamill
200m individual medley: Stephanie Rice, Alicia Coutts
400m individual medley: Stephanie Rice, Blair Evans
4x100m freestyle: Melanie Schlanger, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie, Yolane Kukla, Libby Trickett, Alicia Coutts
4x200m freestyle: Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer, Melanie Schlanger, Brittany Elmslie, Jade Neilsen, Angie Bainbridge
4x100m medley relay: selected in London
Open water: Melissa Gorman