REUTERS - Swimmer James Magnussen is confident of succeeding where five-times gold medallist Ian Thorpe failed by becoming the first Australian to win the Olympic men’s 100 metres freestyle title since 1968.
Michael Wenden was Australia’s last Olympic champion in the event. Thorpe could manage a bronze only in 2004 while Eamon Sullivan went one better with silver in Beijing four years later.
“It’s been a long time coming for an Australian to win and I think it’s just about time that we did it,” world champion Magnussen told reporters at the Manchester Aquatic Centre on Monday.
“All the work we’ve done and the taper has got me where I need to be. It’s been a fairly problem free preparation I’d say and everything has gone pretty smoothly so I‘m pretty confident,” added the 21-year-old, whose nickname is ‘Missile’.
Brazilian world record holder Cesar Cielo’s time of 46.91 seconds, set in the now banned supersuit could also be under threat from Magnussen, who swam 47.10 at the Australian trials in March wearing a textile suit.
A potential showdown with Cielo appeals to Magnussen’s competitive nature although he was maintaining a relaxed approach to competition.
“The way I feel about it, is the better the field in London the bigger the result if I‘m able to win,” he said.
”I‘m sure (Cielo) will be pushing the pace early on in the race and that’s something I’ll feed off.
”I‘m the sort of person who the more relaxed and the more I enjoy myself, the quicker I’ll swim.
“So keeping pretty calm and collected at the moment.”
Magnussen has also been selected for the men’s 50 freestyle and the 4x100 relay and is likely to contest the 4x100 medley relay.
Writing by Mark Pangallo in London; Editing By Alison Wildey