DUAL 100m freestyle world champion James Magnussen has accused Australian coaches of “going against our swimming history” with their current relay tactics at big meets.
Australia are still without a gold medal six days into the world championships in Budapest, continuing the nation’s struggles after a largely underwhelming Rio Olympic campaign.
With a youthful team and some key absences in Hungary this week — including Magnussen, who opted out to focus on racing outside the national setup — expectations weren’t overly high of the Dolphins and ‘The Missle’ regards a medal tally of no gold, five silver and two bronze so far as a “par” performance overall.
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However the 26-year-old former sprint king has been frustrated by Australia’s refusal to lead off with their fastest swimmers in relays, revealing it was something he also took issue with in Rio last year.
Magnussen helped the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team to bronze in Brazil, fighting back from last place after James Roberts’ opening leg. He was disappointed by the decision not to lead-off with team spearhead Cameron McEvoy and has been equally puzzled by the use of big guns like McEvoy, Bronte Campbell and Emma McKeon in Budapest this week.
“The relays are really confusing me this meet and they did again in Rio,” Magnussen told Fox Sports’ Gameday Live on Saturday.
“The other countries are leading off with their fastest swimmers, putting leads on the rest of the field and then coming home strong to win the gold.
“In each of the relays so far Australia has failed to lead off with their fastest swimmers, have been behind from the first leg and have then failed to feature in the medals in a couple of those events.
“It really does confuse me that, in an event that particularly I know — the men’s 4x100m freestyle — we had Cam McEvoy, our…