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Magnussen wants to be like Thorpe
Liam FitzGibbon
20:02 AEST Mon Jul 16 2012

James Magnussen remembers the confidence he felt as a youngster watching Ian Thorpe race - and now he wants all Australians to feel the same about him.

While five-time Olympic gold medallist Thorpe will be in the stands in London after failing in his comeback bid, Magnussen will be striving to become Australia's first 100m freestyle Olympic champion since Michael Wenden in 1968.

The ultra-confident 21-year-old has already established himself as Australian swimming's new alpha male and the undoubted spearhead of the Dolphins' campaign in London, where he will compete in four events including relays.

And now Magnussen wants Australians to be able to depend on him for success, just like he did when Thorpe was at his peak.

"I guess the part of Thorpie's racing and mentality that I would like to sort of bring to the table is the fact that every time I watched him race on TV, as a member of the public, there was never any doubt in my mind that he was going to win," Magnussen said as he fronted the media for the first time since arriving in the UK on Sunday.

"If people back in Australia can say 'a James Magnussen race is coming on, he's a sure thing', I think that's a pretty special thing.

"It's something Thorpey was able to maintain for a number of years and something that id like to sustain as well."

After a light but "pretty fast" 90-minute session at Manchester's aquatic centre alongside his Australian teammates on Monday morning, Magnussen was evidently excited about his prospects in London.

He revealed he had fallen briefly ill last week but had escaped any serious bugs or viruses and said he expected to go faster than his 47.10-second swim at trials in Adelaide in March, the fastest ever in a textile suit.

That could mean curtains for Brazilian Cesar Cielo's world record of 46.91, set in a supersuit in the 2009 Rome world championships, given Magnussen fell seriously ill with a chest infection prior to trials and battled pneumonia in the lead-up to last year's world championships in Shanghai.

"I think that (being healthy) means I should definitely be going quicker than I did at trials," Magnussen said.

"I think we kept it under wraps going into trials the level of sickness I had and, to be honest, I wasn't sleeping most night going into trials.

"Being healthy this time will be a huge bonus."

While Magnussen has arrived in the UK amid enormous hype and pressure, he showed no signs of feeing the strain as he fronted a large media gathering on Monday.

"Something my coach and I talk about, coming into these big competition where there's a lot of media a lot of fans a lot of pressure is just being Port Macquarie James," Magnussen said.

"That's the guy that wakes up at 10 o'clock in the morning and struggles down to the beach with his mates. Not the guy that swims 46-47 seconds in the 100m freestyle.

"It's just about having a laid back approach to competing."

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