A TWELVE month Olympic Games postponement will make or break many of Australia's high-profile swimming stars' careers.
James Magnussen knows better than most the mental challenges the nation's swimming team members are faced with; he did it for almost a decade.
So he is in a good position to raise concerns about how the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games will affect our chances of regularly appearing on the podium.
The two-time Olympian says swimming is different to most other sports in Australia as the schedule is based around one major event each year in a four-year cycle.
Each year we've got one big competition so for most of those athletes, they won't have had a big international race since the world championships last year in July.James Magnussen
"Usually that's either world championships, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games or the Pan Pacs," he said.
"Each year we've got one big competition so for most of those athletes, they won't have had a big international race since the world championships last year in July."
He feels for his former teammates who might have been contemplating hanging up the goggles at the completion of Tokyo 2020.
They now have another 12 months of hard work in front of them - without high-quality race preparation.
For most members of the team, it will be two years since their last major international meet by the time the Olympic Games roll around in July 2021.
To have that taken away overnight will be a huge readjustment for most athletes and it will definitely make or break a lot of them.James Magnussen
"To have that taken away overnight will be a huge readjustment for most athletes and it will definitely make or break a lot of them," Magnussen said.
"Those that can cope mentally and stay in shape during this period of isolation and then come out the other side maintaining their focus and commitment will really excel."
But his main concern was that most would come out the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic unfocused and unprepared.
"They'll lose shape over this period and it will really rattle their year next year," he said.
The 28-year-old was thankful he made his decision to retire last year, saying the motivator of a third Olympic Games wasn't enough.
"When I was deciding whether to retire or not last year, the carrot that was being dangled was a third Olympic Games," he said.
"Ultimately I decided that wasn't enough of a motivator for me to stay in the sport.
"Now I'm counting my blessings because it would have meant another year's worth of training with no income.
"I definitely feel for those guys now who may have another 12 months in front of them before they can hang up the goggles."