MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM, JULY 16 2012, SOURCE: AFPTV
- VAR of James Magnussen and the other Australian swimmers at the Aquatic centre in Manchester
SOUNDBITE 1 James Magnussen (man), Australian swimmer and World Champion in the 100m freestyle (English, 15 sec):
"I'm starting to get excited now. But I'm just trying to stay as relaxed and focused as I can. I'm the sort of person who, the more relaxed and the more enjoying myself I am, the quicker I swim so… keeping pretty calm and collected at the moment I think."
- VAR of training session
SOUNDBITE 2 James Roberts (man), Australian swimmer (English, 11 sec):
"We're excited, we're in a good position. And I suppose there is a little bit of expectation, we're going in ranked 1 and 2. We're both pretty confident in our ability and know that we can perform well."
- VAR of training session
SOUNDBITE 3 Leisel Jones (woman), Australian swimmer and triple Olympian and dual gold medallist from Beijing (English, 10 sec):
[Self-appointed 'Mother Goose", Jones is talking about the other Australian swimmers] "I just can't wait to see how they will perform. Yes, it's just been a really different role for me this year. I'm just really looking forward to taking on this role, a bit of a mother-hen role, looking after the younger kids."
- VAR of training session
SOUNDBITE 4 Brant Best (man), Australian coach (English, 18 sec):
[About James Magnussen] "He's a very confident boy, but over-confidence is not a problem. We work on channeling his confidence, so making sure we use it. I think if you want to be a 100m freestyle sprinter you need to be confident, you need to be ready to get in the battle, and he is, but over-confidence, he knows what over-confidence costs him in a race, so over-confidence is not an issue."
- James Magnussen swimming
AFP TEXT STORY:
Olympics: Target engaged - it's Australia's 'Missile'
by Robert Smith
SYDNEY, July 12, 2012 (AFP) - 'The Missile' is zeroing in on London with Australia's James Magnussen supremely confident of trumping the world's best for the 100-metres freestyle gold medal at the Olympics.
Magnussen, 21, holds nothing back in or out of the pool and has talked up his chances of becoming the first Australian man to win the Olympic event in 44 years after claiming the world title in Shanghai last year.
The 1.95 metre (6ft 4in) sprinter owns the year's fastest time (47.10secs) and four of the top eight fastest times in the 100m.
Magnussen, nicknamed 'The Missile', warned his rivals to "brace yourselves" after swimming within 0.19sec of Brazilian Cesar Cielo's 100m world record at the Australian Olympic trials in Adelaide last March.
With the cockiness of a pre-fight boxer, Magnussen ramped up the mind games on his rivals by declaring he was targeting nothing less than the 100m world record in London.
"I've done everything I can to get it. I'm confident I'll get it in London because I want to be considered the fastest man in history," he said.
Magnussen said he wanted to send a clear message to his London rivals, and did so with emphatic wins in the 50m (21.74sec) and 100m (47.10) at the Australian trials.
"I'm sure they'll have a few sleepless nights," he said. "It just keeps them second-guessing their preparations and keeps them chasing me."
Magnussen produced three personal best times -- carving an incredible 0.67sec off his best one-lap mark -- to win the 50m freestyle at the trials and put himself in the frame for a second individual gold medal in London.
Only Cielo (21.38) and fellow Brazilian Bruno Fratus (21.70) have gone faster than Magnussen in the 50m so far this year.
"I've had six races, six wins and six improvements on my time," Magnussen said of his week's work at the trials.
"I go into every race backing myself and I'll certainly be confident going into this event in London -- people are going to sit up and take notice," he said.
Magnussen is bidding to become the first Australian man to win the 100m freestyle Olympic gold medal since Michael Wenden in Mexico in 1968.
Magnussen's manager Mark Jones said 'The Missile' would keep talking the talk before his much-anticipated Olympic debut.
"These are confident athletes and they are brave enough to say what they think," Jones told AFP.
"There is nothing wrong with that. They are all trying to break each other physically but they're also trying to hammer each other mentally.
"Psychology is a big part of it. The main thing is that you have to be good enough to walk the walk if you're going to talk it up. James's performances have obviously been very good and he has faith in his ability."
Australia head coach Leigh Nugent is a big Magnussen fan.
"He's the real deal, he's the full package. Maggy (Magnussen) has brought a lot of attention and he's just a wonderful character," he said.
"He's something different. He's prepared to put himself out there, to talk it up a bit and that's been really good for us."
Australia, who have forged an Olympic tradition in swimming with 58 golds, may reap further success out of Magnussen in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay, after winning the world title last year.
Magnussen is likely to team with James Roberts, Eamon Sullivan and Matt Targett in the event in which Australia upset the Americans at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Australia are in strong contention to land the relay event in London after their triumph at the Shanghai worlds and impressive individual times at the Olympic trials.
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