Australia look for the breaks to lay down a marker in Kazan
By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia head into next month's world championships without sprint king James Magnussen leaving Cate Campbell to lead a team with some exciting young talent determined to lay down a marker for next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Rebranded as the "Dolphins" in March after two years rebuilding a culture that was savaged after the London Olympics debacle, the Australians have an auxiliary goal of continuing to improve their image in the eyes of the public back home.
Magnussen's shoulder injury deprives him of the chance to defend his 100 meters freestyle title for a record second time and coach Jacco Verhaeren will take only two reigning world champions to Russia in Campbell and Christian Sprenger.
With seven other swimmers in the top two in the world this year for at least one of their events, however, the Australians could bring home quite a haul if the breaks go their way at what looks like being a open meet in several events.
"The difference between winning and losing can be as little as one-one-hundredth of a second so we'll be looking for peak performance and for the team to do their absolute best," Verhaeren said at the pre-championship training camp in Qatar.
"An extension of what we saw in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games and the Pan Pacs in team cohesion, behavior, showing themselves as elite athletes and everything that goes along with that.
"The world championships, like the Olympics is always difficult. Almost everyone is there, anything can happen and it is becoming tighter and tighter."
Sprenger will defend his 100 breaststroke crown and Magnussen's injury presents Cam McEvoy, third fastest in the world this year, with an opportunity to grab the limelight in the blue riband sprint. Continued...