Magnussen not making a splash

2011-12-01 14:11

Melbourne - Freestyle swimming world champion James Magnussen plans to stay behind "closed doors" in his home country of Australia to keep his rivals in the dark before his bid for Olympic gold at the London Games next year.

The unheralded 20-year-old was a surprise winner of the blue riband 100 metres freestyle at the Shanghai world championships this year and said he hoped to preserve some of the shock value for the Olympics.

"I guess one of the biggest weapons I had at the world championships was the fact that nobody knew who I was," Magnussen told reporters in Sydney.

"I'm sure there's a lot of race footage out there now that other coaches are studying and trying to teach their swimmers how to race me but you really need to race somebody and be next to them to get a feel for how they swim and how you can overcome them.

"The more I can stay back here in Australia and keep to myself and keep behind closed doors and train hard, the more I'll benefit.

"We may head overseas and do a little bit of training but the way our squad is at the moment I've got all the competition I need within our own squad."

Magnussen, whose gold was his country's first in the blue riband event at a global competition since the 1968 Mexico Olympics, also helped Australia's 4x100m freestyle relay win in Shanghai, the team upstaging the highly fancied French quartet and the Michael Phelps-led Americans.

Magnussen's lead-off time of 47.49 seconds in the relay remains the fastest since polyurethane suits were banned in January 2010. Brazil's Cesar Cielo holds the record of 46.91 seconds set in one of the now-banned suits.