Magnussen misses Rio cut – for now



Dual world champion James Magnussen was a glaring omission when the Australian swimming team was named after the Rio Olympic trials in Adelaide on Thursday night.

However, Magnussen is still expected to feature in the 4x100m freestyle relay action at the Games this year.

Australia unveiled a 34-strong squad at the completion of the eight-day trials, dominated by Cameron McEvoy, who became the first to complete the national freestyle triple crown by winning the men’s 50, 100 and 200m freestyle events.

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Sprint queen Cate Campbell also impressed by claiming the 50m-100m freestyle double in near world record time.


Job well done: Cameron McEvoy dominated the Australian trials. Photo: Getty

However, Magnussen’s name was nowhere to be seen – for now.

Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay team is yet to qualify for Rio but their entry is expected to be confirmed by the May 31 deadline.

They looked the goods on Thursday, the team featuring Magnussen clocked three minutes, 12.26 seconds in a time trial in Adelaide – an effort that would have won bronze at the 2015 world titles.

Australia is vying for one of four 4x100m relay vacancies at Rio after failing to make the 2015 world titles final, finishing 13th overall in Russia.

Only the top 12 finishers at a world titles are locks for the Olympics.

A Rio relay berth is Magnussen’s only shot to make a second Olympics after struggling upon his return from shoulder surgery.

He failed to earn an individual nod after finishing third in the 50m sprint and fourth in his pet event, the 100m freestyle, in Adelaide.

Only a top-two finish within the qualifying time guaranteed an individual Rio nod.

Yet Magnussen is expected to be injected into the 4x100m freestyle squad along with Matt Abood and James Roberts.

National coach Jacco Verhaeren said Magnussen and his relay teammates would be welcomed to their weekend team camp in Adelaide despite not being officially confirmed members.

“They will be acknowledged but not officially announced (at the team camp) – that is the unfortunate reality we are in,” Verhaeren said.

Cate Campbell

Cate Campbell held off sister Bronte in the women’s 100m. Photo: Getty

“At the orientation camp we will treat them like equal athletes.

“But the reality is they are not there.”

Adding to Verhaeren’s anxiety, new FINA rules state a country’s relay team must use every member in either the heats or final, not keep reserves up their sleeve otherwise they will be disqualified.

“We are actually identifying who has to swim four months earlier than we normally do,” Verhaeren said.

“It’s a bit of a silly rule to be honest but one we have to deal with.”

Asked whether he was surprised Magnussen – coming back from shoulder surgery – failed to earn a solo Rio gig, Verhaeren said: “The way I see it he ran out of time in his preparation.”

Yet Verhaeren – the ex-coach of Olympic champions Inge de Bruijn and Pieter van den Hoogenband – rated Australia’s freestyle stocks ahead of Rio.

“This is definitely one of the best (freestyle) teams I have ever seen,” he said.

The Australian squad ranges from oldest member, 28-year-old five-time Olympic medallist Alicia Coutts to 17-year-old rookie Kyle Chalmers.


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