Swimming: James Magnussen is primed to race for his life at the Commonwealth Games trials

Diving in: James Magnussen will race for a spot in the Australian Commonwealth Games swim team on the Gold Coast on Thursday night. Photo: Ivan Sajko
Diving in: James Magnussen will race for a spot in the Australian Commonwealth Games swim team on the Gold Coast on Thursday night. Photo: Ivan Sajko

JAMES Magnussen knows it is a simple equation.

A top three finish in Thursday night’s 100-metre freestyle final at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre will ensure he has can defend his Commonwealth Games title in just over a month.

But this race is different to most others in recent memory – it’s one that is personal.

“I have had a really complex journey and path in the sport over the past few years with the shoulder injury and a long rehabilitation phase,” Magnussen said.

“I think it has resulted in me really looking inwards for the motivation and the goal setting for this meet and my future in the sport.”

The preparation for the 26-year-old leading up to the selection trials has been different. He’s been out of the limelight.

“I have certainly enjoyed this preparation and the fact that it has been quieter in terms of external attention and other factors,” he said.

“At different times in my career I have carried quite a high load of this sort of attention and expectation.

“It is understandable but it is nice to be able to really concentrate on my own work with my coaches and support team.”

The defending champion from Glasgow in 2014 admits it is important to finish in the top three for a variety of factors.

Should he do so, he will have a chance to defend that title.

“I am very proud to be the defending champion in the 100m freestyle,” he said.

I have had a really complex journey and path in the sport over the past few years with the shoulder injury and a long rehabilitation phase.

James Magnussen

“With the Games being held on home soil on the Gold Coast this time around the motivation is even higher.

“In Australian swimming, the competition at selection trials is often as difficult, if not more difficult than the benchmark event itself with limited spots and such strong depth in Australia.”

With the addition of an international athlete or two, the final field in the 100-metre freestyle event wouldn’t look out of place in an Olympic final.

It includes Cam McEvoy, Kyle Chalmers, Mack Horton and James Roberts along with Magnussen.

But five into three doesn’t go although the Port Macquarie product hasn’t even contemplated missing outside the top three.

“I just have not turned my mind to this at all,” he said.

“Myself and my team have focused on every aspect of preparation and performance and I will leave everything in the pool as I always set out do.”

The final of the 100-metre freestyle will be shown on Prime from about 9.30pm Thursday.

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