James Magnussen, Australia’s biggest swimming star four years ago, failed to make the Olympic team in an individual event for the Rio Games.
Magnussen finished third in the Olympic Trials 50m freestyle on Wednesday, two days after finishing fourth in the 100m freestyle. He needed to be top two to make the Olympics in those events individually.
However, his fourth-place 100m free finish was enough to earn an Olympic 4x100m free relay spot. Full Olympic Trials results are here.
“It was tight but, oh man, it didn’t feel good but, what can you do?,” Magnussen said on Australian TV. “I’ve been struggling as the week goes, having trouble getting through it.
In 2012, Magnussen swept the 50m and 100m frees at the Australian Olympic Trials and then finished .01 behind Nathan Adrian in the Olympic 100m freestyle.
Magnussen, 25, had the fastest 100m free time in the world in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, but his best yearly time had gotten slower each of the past four years.
He also missed the 2015 World Championships due to left shoulder surgery and conceded the injury may have hampered him more than he anticipated in Adelaide this week.
“I guess so,” Magnussen said. “I’ve stayed positive for the last nine months since surgery. I’m going to continue to try and stay positive. Otherwise I might go and bang my head against a couple of walls.”
He has ceded the mantle of Australia’s best sprinter to Cameron McEvoy, who on Wednesday became the first man to sweep the 50m, 100m and 200m frees at an Australian Championships.
Also on Wednesday, World champion Emily Seebohm was upset in the 200m backstroke final by Belinda Hocking but still made the Olympic team by finishing second. Seebohm took both backstroke World titles from Missy Franklin last year.
In the women’s 50m free semis, sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell posted the fastest qualifying times into Thursday’s final. Cate clocked 23.93, the third-fastest time in history, an Australian record and a world record outside of the supersuit era.