JAMES Magnussen is locked in an enthralling battle between his heart and his head as to whether he will set his sights on Tokyo 2020 or hang up the goggles.
The 27-year-old dual world champion and Olympic silver medallist, however, has admitted he needs to make his final decision in the next four or five months.
Such a decision would allow him to start preparing as well as possible for his third Olympics campaign – if that turned out to be where he was headed.
“While my heart says Tokyo, my head says that may not be the best decision career-wise,” Magnussen said.
“You never say never.
“I’m still in shape and if the trials were tomorrow I’d back myself, but at the moment at my age it’s about weighing up the opportunities outside of the pool more so than Tokyo.”
The Port Macquarie product said he had been using his “down time” completing an internship at a property development company in Sydney.
It gave the strongest indication yet that he could be moving onto life after swimming.
“Property is the kind of area that I’m interested in for the future,” he said.
Magnussen said he wouldn’t follow in the footsteps of Ian Thorpe, Geoff Huegill, Michael Klim and Libby Trickett after they made comebacks in the pool.
“Once I’m done, I’m done,” he said.
“We’ve got a great bunch of swimmers there at the moment so for me to retire and then have a comeback I’d hate to take the spotlight off any of the young guys that are there now.
“Once I make a decision it’ll be finite and there’ll be no regrets one way or the other.”
A strong 12-month preparation leading up to the Olympic trials next June or July meant the time to make the final decision was fast approaching.
“It’ll have to be in the front half of this year because while I am in shape you still want a good 12 to 18-month preparation,” he said.
“The Olympics will be in about August and the trials will be in about July so (the decision) will be sooner rather than later.
“I’m waiting for a few things to fall into place outside of the pool before I make a definite decision.”
“On days like Sunday I lean towards Tokyo,” he said.
“Then there are days when it’s pouring rain, I’ve got a few aches and pains in the body and I lean towards retirement so it depends on the head space I’m in.
“Heart says Tokyo, but head says maybe it’s time to get onto some other things.”
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