James Magnussen

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James Magnussen retires from swimming

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James Magnussen, Australia’s biggest swimming star going into the 2012 Olympics, has retired at age 28 after slowing down considerably in recent years following 2015 shoulder surgery.

“I have taken the time to make the best decision for myself moving forward and to do that I wanted to make sure I was in the best space mentally and physically before announcing my retirement,” he said in a press release. “I could have swum at another Olympic Games, but with the lofty standards I have held myself to over the years and the high expectations I have, I believe now is the right time to step away from the sport.”

Magnussen, nicknamed “The Missile,” was world champion in the sport’s marquee event, the 100m freestyle, in 2011 and 2013. However, he was edged for gold at the London Olympics by .01 by Nathan Adrian.

Magnussen was part of an overall disappointing 2012 Games for the Australian swim team, which came home with one relay gold. Magnussen led off the Aussie men’s 4x100m free team that finished fourth, one year after winning the world title.

He came back from shoulder surgery to make the Rio 2016 team as a relay-only swimmer, helping Australia to bronze. Magnussen missed the 2017 Worlds and 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. His only major international meet since Rio was the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where he was sixth in the 50m free and part of a gold-medal freestyle relay.

He was surpassed in the sprints in the last Olympic cycle by Cameron McEvoy, the 2015 World silver medalist in the 100m free, and then surprise Rio Olympic 100m free champ Kyle Chalmers.

He still owns the second-fastest 100m freestyle in history aside from the high-tech suit era, a 47.10 from the 2012 Olympic Trials bettered only by McEvoy’s 47.04 at the 2016 Olympic Trials.

MORE: Olympic breaststroke champion retires at age 22

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James Magnussen to take break from swimming competition, report says

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James Magnussen, once Australia’s biggest swimming star, will take the next year off from competition to rest a shoulder injury, according to Australian media.

Magnussen, 25, won the 2011 and 2013 World Championships 100m freestyle titles but took silver at the 2012 London Games, .01 behind American Nathan Adrian.

Magnussen struggled the last three years.

He missed the 2015 World Championships due to left shoulder surgery and conceded the injury may have hampered him at the Australian Olympic Trials in April, when he failed to make the Rio team in an individual event.

Magnussen helped the Australian 4x100m free relay team to bronze in Rio, after he led off a quartet in London that finished fourth.

Australia is loaded with younger talent in the 100m free, including Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers, who is 18, and 2015 World silver medalist Cameron McEvoy, who is 22.

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James Magnussen falls short in Australia Olympic Trials 50m freestyle

James Magnussen
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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