Sydney: I.VIII.MMXII - that is what Australian sprint swimming sensation James Magnussen wants more than anything to have tattooed on his chest after the London Olympics.   

The 21-year-old has promised himself a trip to the tattoo parlour if, as he and many others expect, he wins Olympic gold in the 100 metres freestyle.       

While the gold medal remains an "if" for the confident Magnussen, he views claiming the world record in the blue riband sprint as almost a "when" as he continues his preparations for his London Olympics.   

Magnussen swam the fastest time of the year (47.10 seconds) by some margin to win the 100m at his country's Olympic trials earlier this year and now sees Brazilian Cesar Cielo's world mark of 46.91 as the only thing he has to reach for.   

"I'm pretty confident about getting that world record, I got close to it at the national trials and I've done everything within my power to improve my performances since then," he told reporters on Wednesday.   

"If it comes, it comes. If I was to get the gold medal and not the world record, I wouldn't be disappointed. However, if I got the world record and not the gold medal, that would be a different story.   

"I'm pretty confident I'll get it, but it's not my utmost goal."    

Magnussen, who exploded on to the world stage with a swim of 48.29 to win gold at last year's Shanghai world championships, may be a locked-in favourite to win the title but if he is feeling any pressure he is not showing it.    

"It has felt for a long time now that Olympics has been coming really fast but now that it is so close, to be honest, it feels like it's slowed down a little," he said.   

High Expectations   

"But for me it's just business as usual. I feel pretty relaxed about what's around the corner. My day-to-day life hasn't changed much so I'm pretty relaxed still."   

In fact, he told a news conference after being announced as an ambassador for Commonwealth Bank, he has always thrived when there were high expectations.   

"To get out there and know that you control the situation and that you carry the hopes of 20 million people yourself is something that I embrace, that I most enjoy," he said.   

"You could go right back to swimming carnivals when I was five or six years old when I was expected to win because I was the biggest in the year, I've always enjoyed it.   

"I just enjoy that, the acknowledgement of my talents is something I get confidence from to the extent that if I was to swim at a carnival where nobody knew who I was, or expected me to do well, it would be a let down.   

"I enjoy it and have embraced it and it's something I'm using to spur me on in London."   

Magnussen said he would have no races in public before he headed to London, although there would be a few in private at the Australian Institute for Sport in Canberra.    

He will begin his "taper" - easing up on training - towards the Games in about four weeks and said his advice for his rivals remained the same as it was after the Olympic trials.    

"I think "brace yourselves" pretty much sums it up," he said. "I'm in a better place now than I was at the Olympic trials, where I raced with a bit of sickness. I think that was actually one of my poorer races.   

"So I'm sure that says enough to my competition without having to come up with any more one-liners."   

Asked about the tattoo of the Greek letter "alpha" on his forearm, Magnussen said it was "something like" a reference to the Alpha male, and a reminder of the tough times he experienced when he first left home.   

"It's just a reminder that things are pretty easy now and when things get tough in training, I can look down and say 'remember that it wasn't always like this, harden up'," he said.   

"I'm also planning to get the Olympic rings just down on my ribs and if I was to get a world record or an Olympic gold medal, I'd like to get the date of that in Roman numerals. So I'm pretty keen for that."     

The date of the 100 metres final in London? I.VIII.MMXII, or August 1, 2012. 


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