IT was a race he was expected to win, but James Magnussen’s victory in Port Macquarie on September 30 was more than that.
The Missile’s success in the 100-metre freestyle against the best age swimmers in New South Wales was another step on the way to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
He touched the wall first in 50.00 seconds, overcoming a couple of challenges along the way.
After warming up what turned out to be an hour and a half before his race, the Port Macquarie product then signed autographs in the marshalling area.
Coach Mitch Falvey said while it was not ideal, it was part of the reason Magnussen will be in the area for a two-week training camp.
“He did a bit of community work on Saturday which is great and what he wanted to do,” Falvey said.
“It’s what it’s all about – giving back to the community that has given him so much.
“It was good for him to race in Port Macquarie and it was an experience he enjoyed probably more than he thought he would.
“He didn’t leave the pool until about 7.45 so he was there for two hours after the race as well.”
Saturday’s time was slower than what Magnussen will need to swim leading up to the trials for Gold Coast 2018.
But Falvey said the different preparation leading up to the race didn’t give them cause for concern.
“Normally you warm up and then half an hour later you race,” he said.
“James warmed up and then had an hour and 20 minutes where he didn’t do anything other than take photos and sign autographs which isn’t what you normally do.
“I don’t believe that time is an indication of where he’s at at all.”
A better indication of where Magnussen is at will come in the form of several time trials during the two-week camp.
“We’re focusing more on the process rather than the outcome at the moment,” Falvey said.
“We’ll do another time trial this week where we can control the conditions a little bit better and then see where he’s at.”
The next step for the 26-year-old dual world champion and Olympic silver medallist is a carnival in Sydney on November 11 and 12.
“We want to swim a season best time in Sydney and then another one at the end of November,” Falvey said.
“We’re hoping by Queensland state titles in December he’s swimming 48 low, 47 high – that’s the goal.”