'Professor' McEvoy retains perspective on path to Rio pool

Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:03pm EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - No one could accuse Cameron McEvoy of lacking perspective and he might need it if he fulfils Australia's hopes of a first Olympic men's 100 meters freestyle crown since 1968 in the Rio de Janeiro pool next month.

The 22-year-old has only to ponder the fate of compatriot James Magnussen, who headed to London four years ago as favorite for gold in the blue riband sprint, to give him good reason for keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

But it is perhaps the other major passion in McEvoy's life, his study of physics, that has given him a broader outlook than many of his rivals.

Consider his take on how aliens might view competitive swimming.

"What they see is a bunch of these fully grown humans getting up on a block that's right next to a hole in the ground filled with water," the Queenslander said in an interview earlier this year.

"They dive in and they swim as fast as they can up, and then they just come right back and that's it. They would think it's just the weirdest thing they've ever seen."

While McEvoy's studies have earned him the nickname 'The Professor', his performances in the pool have made him a strong contender to bring the 100 freestyle title back to Australia for the first time since Mike Wenden won in Mexico City in 1968.

The scorching 47.04 seconds he clocked at the Australian Olympic trials in April is the fastest time of the year and the quickest since synthetic suits were banned at the end of 2009.   Continued...

Australia's Cameron Mcevoy swims in a men's 100m freestyle heat at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, August 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File photo