Magnussen more relaxed thanks to coach's influence

James Magnussen speaks during an Australian team training camp at the Manchester Aquatics Centre. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

James Magnussen speaks during an Australian team training camp at the Manchester Aquatics Centre. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

SWIMMING 

World records are no longer James Magnussen's focus but Australian swimming head coach Jacco Verhaeren's calming influence may just inspire one at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The man who spectacularly self-destructed at the London Olympics says Verhaeren has helped him finally get his head right ahead of a Games campaign where his 100m freestyle rivalry with rising teammate Cameron McEvoy could threaten the record books.

Dual world champion Magnussen appeared to have learned little from his London debacle when beaten by McEvoy, while preoccupied with trying to break Brazilian Cesar Cielo's 100m record of 46.91 seconds at April's Games trials.

And Magnussen is convinced that he will soon eclipse his current 100m personal best of 47.10 set in 2012 pre-London, which prompted his now infamous "brace yourselves" warning to Games rivals.

However, a more mature Magnussen believes the Verhaeren influence that inspired world record breaking Dutch legend Pieter van den Hoogenband has already rubbed off ahead of the Glasgow Games.

"I feel a little bit more relaxed and assured in his presence - nothing ever seems to faze him," Magnussen said.

"That brings a sense of calm to the team and myself.

"Going into a 100m final at an international meet everything gets a little more intense, so you do look for those people who can create calm.

"I think Jacco is that for me."

Magnussen did not want to predict a world record at Glasgow but admitted he had picked Verhaeren's brain on how three-time Olympic champion van den Hoogenband achieved one in his epic Sydney Games 200m freestyle win over Ian Thorpe.

"We sat down before this and consulted Jacco on how he approached world records with Pieter and he said there was no advantage thinking about it," Magnussen said.

"He told me Pieter didn't think at all about getting the world record until he did it in Sydney.

"It almost came as a surprise because they had talked about it so little.

"So [coach] Brant [Best] and our support group haven't mentioned the world record once.

"Of course it is going to come up when I do media but I feel really comfortable with the fact that there's been no focus on it and I will continue to do that."

Magnussen - who has the year's fastest 100m time of 47.59 - is no longer into bold calls.

But the London silver medallist hoped the Glasgow Games would prove a stepping stone towards he and teammate McEvoy establishing their dominance in August's Pan Pacs stoush with the world No 1 Americans on the Gold Coast.

"From a public perspective this is a more important meet, but for me personally I have some great rivalries in that American team," Magnussen said.

"I really want to use that meet to cement ... that Cam and I are top of the world in the 100m freestyle, not the Americans any more."

AAP

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