FRUSTRATED is the word which comes to mind when James Magnussen looks back on 2016.
The 25-year-old admitted he spent most of the last 12 months fighting a battle with himself on the road back from a shoulder reconstruction.
“I couldn’t physically do what I wanted to be able to do mentally and everything was rushed to get back in time for the Olympic trials,” he said.
“It was a frustrating year overall, but it was still good to get an Olympic medal at the end of it. That was just reward for the people that had helped me through that recovery process but it was a good year to put behind me so I can look forward now.”
At the time of the injury, Magnussen was told it would be 18 months from 2015 until his shoulder would feel like it was back to normal.
”But like any young bloke, you’re pretty gung-ho and always optimistic and do everything you can.
It was a frustrating year overall, but it was still good to get an Olympic medal at the end of it.
“I was just trying to stay positive and optimistic to stay in the best head space I could, because you don’t want to let yourself get down mentally because that can get you in a rut.
“I stayed positive and came out the other side so I want to put it behind me and try and get back to business as usual.”
After Magnussen missed out on an individual spot at Rio, some were doubting his ability.
But the London 2012 silver medallist was confident he wasn’t past his best and The Missile would again be firing leading in to the Commonwealth Games in 2018 on the Gold Coast.
”I wouldn’t still be training if I didn’t think I could get back to the top of the sport. Certainly no one within the sport has ever to my face doubted that I’m past it.
“I don’t even believe I’ve reached my best yet. I’m only 25 years old and if you look at guys like Michael Phelps and Anthony Ervin who are swimming into their mid-30s, Australia is really the only country in the world where people don’t have longevity in swimming because of the way the sport is structured here.”
2017 looks like being a much quieter year for Magnussen.
“We’ve set all our goals based around the Commonwealth Games in April of 2018,” he said.
“It will be a year of preparation and getting in the work I wasn’t able to leading into the Olympics. The shoulder is more or less recovered now so I can start back on to a full workload.”
Magnussen was again looking forward to challenging teenage superstars Cam McEvoy and Kyle Chalmers which will provide the best form of preparation for the Commonwealth Games.
“It’s always healthy to have good competition within your own country,” he said.
Now it’s certainly time for me to throw my hat back in that ring and start challenging Cam and Kyle.
“As I was coming through the ranks I had Eamon to chase after and try and emulate and those guys have had me as they’ve come through. Now it’s certainly time for me to throw my hat back in that ring and start challenging the both of them.
“Any time I get the opportunity to race them and potentially beat them, it’s making a statement not only in Australia, but worldwide.”