Magnussen's message to rivals: 'Brace yourselves'

JOHN PYE AP Sports Writer Published:

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) -- World champion James "Missile" Magnussen has a message for his rivals: "Brace yourselves."

Magnussen swam the fourth fastest 100-meter freestyle ever -- and the fastest without the high-tech bodysuits that are now banned in competition -- to win at the Australian Olympic trials Monday.

The 20-year-old Magnussen said before the race that he was targeting Cesar Cielo's world record of 46.91 seconds, set at the 2009 world championships.

"I feel pretty confident after that swim," Magnussen said after his 47.10 on Monday night. "I'm going to be doing everything within my power to break that world record, because I do want to be considered the fastest man in history."

Magnussen, who grew up in a regional coastal city and comes across as lackadaisical until he speaks about his swimming, said he would have gone faster Monday if he hadn't been sick in the leadup to the meet "but I'm certainly not disappointed with myself."

"It probably caught me in that last 10 meters and shortened me up a little so hopefully if I can stay fit and healthy between now and London," he said. "I'll certainly put myself in the best position to have a crack at that world record."

Magnussen took 0.39 off his personal best time set at the world championships at Shanghai last year -- and did it without even having a close shave. He explained his stubble beard by saying he liked the rough look.

Only Brazil's Cielo and Alain Bernard of France have ever broken the 47-second mark. Australia's Eamon Sullivan swam 47.05 -- then a world record -- in the semifinals at the 2008 Olympics but had to settle for silver in the final at Beijing. All those times were set when the high-tech suits were legal.

Libby Trickett kept alive her bid for a spot on the Olympic team.

The triple Olympic champion, coming out of retirement, qualified for the women's 100 freestyle final with the fifth-fastest time (54.19) in Monday's semifinals.

The 27-year-old Trickett can earn an individual berth by finishing first or second, or be considered for a relay spot by finishing in the top six in the freestyle final. She narrowly missed out on a spot in the 100 butterfly after finishing third.