Cameron McEvoy

James Magnussen
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James Magnussen falls short in Australia Olympic Trials 50m freestyle

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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.

MORE: Australia swim legend fails to make Olympic team

James Magnussen fails to make Olympic 100m freestyle

James Magnussen
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James Magnussen, who finished .01 behind Nathan Adrian in the 2012 Olympic 100m freestyle, did not qualify for Rio in the event at the Australian Olympic Trials on Monday.

Magnussen, the 2011 and 2013 World champion, placed fourth at the Australian trials in Adelaide, needing to finish first or second to make the Rio Olympics in the individual 100m free.

“Obviously pretty shattered,” Magnussen said on Australian TV.

Cameron McEvoy won the trials in 47.04 seconds, an Australian record and the fastest-ever time outside of the high-tech swimsuit era. Kyle Chalmers, 17, was second in 48.03, followed by James Roberts (48.32) and Magnussen (48.68). Full results are here.

McEvoy broke Magnussen’s Australian textile record 47.10 set at the 2012 Olympic Trials. He inched close to Brazilian Cesar Cielo‘s 2009 world record of 46.91.

“I had some good words of advice leading into this race,” said McEvoy, who took silver at the 2015 World Championships in 47.95 behind China’s Ning Zetao (47.84). “A lot of the best swimmers in the world, past and present, get up behind the blocks and just put up the curtains when they decide the lanes. I did that. I guess it paid off.”

Magnussen did qualify for the Australian 4x100m freestyle relay team by finishing in the top six Monday.

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.

“I’ve done everything I could, physically, to get back in shape,” Magnussen said. “Those guys just raced a better race tonight. I couldn’t keep up with them. That’s how strong Australia swimming is at the moment.”

The Australians, like the Americans, shockingly failed to make the 2015 World Championships 4x100m free relay final.

In London, Magnussen swam a slow leadoff leg en route to the Australians finishing fourth in the 4x100m free relay.

Magnussen can still make the Australian Olympic team individually in the 50m freestyle. That final is Wednesday.

MORE: Australia swim legend fails to make Olympic team