The West

Missile returns to water to make semis
James Magnussen after competing in a men's 50m freestyle heat. Picture: AP

Not surprisingly the last thing James Magnussen wanted to do today was get back in the water.

Little more than 12 hours after not achieving his goal in the 100m freestyle at London 2012, the Australian had to back up for the one-lap sprint.

And Magnussen, still recovering from the shock of missing Olympic gold by 0.01s last night, did it hard in the splash and dash.

But he managed to squeeze out 22.11sec. to be the 10th fastest qualifier for tonight’s semifinals.

WA’s Eamon Sullivan did it even harder. A botched jump off the blocks jeopardised Sullivan’s chances of advancing in his only solo swim of these Games.

However, he found speed over the final 25m to sneak into the next round in 16th – and last – position with 22.27s.

Magnussen said immediately after the race it was a struggle to get back in the pool after last night’s emotionally draining 100m freestyle. The 21-year-old also had the disappointment of a poor swim in the 4 x 100m freestyle in which the Dolphins finished fourth.

“To be totally honest the last thing I wanted to do was get up and swim again,” he said following the 50m race.

“I think once I got over that mental hurdle the swim felt alright.

“I just want to relax and enjoy this one for what it is. It is an Olympics and I want to have some good memories of it.

“I didn’t sleep. I’m my worst critic and I don’t think I’ve had the chance to come to grips with it.

“I just have to keep swimming fast and it’s another day ahead.”

While Magnussen missed gold last night by a finger nail to American Nathan Adrian he has tried not to dwell on the race.

He believed that dissecting the swim to try to find that extra split second would distract him from the rest of his duties, which also include a 4 x 100m medley swim tomorrow.

“I don’t think I ever want to watch that race ever,” Magnussen said

“Having a chance to sit back night and think about what had happened I’ve come to the realisation I would have rather a different coloured medal but it’s funny that that all I wanted to do after the race was see my parents.

“You start to get the realisation about what is important.

“Everything’s come so easy for me in my early career and I think I’ve taken it a little for granted.

“It was an important part of my life that race last night but I’m going to regroup and let the fire burn for a few years.”

Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe was among a chorus of critics that believed Magnussen lost the 100m freestyle final at the wall.

Replays indicated Magnussed touched the timing plate with a bent hand while Adrian hit with outstretch fingers.

“I don’t curl my hand and never have,” Magnussen said.

The West Australian

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