Australian James Magnussen put a year of pain behind him as he defended his world 100m freestyle title with an emotional victory in Barcelona.
A year on from his heartbreaking defeat in the London Olympic final, Magnussen reasserted himself as the world’s fastest man as he clocked 47.71 seconds to win Thursday’s thrilling final.
After turning for home in fifth, the 22-year-old powered home in the late stages to beat Americans James Feigen (47.82) and Nathan Adrian (47.84), the man who beat him by one one-hundredth of a second in the Olympic final.
In a surprise result, Australian teenager Cameron McEvoy (47.88) was fourth after producing a huge PB.
Magnussen revealed he was almost too drained to celebrate after what had been a humbling year.
“It was really emotional,” Magnussen said.
“That last 15 metres, I really used the last 12 months of experiences that I’ve gone through.
“I was really aggressive towards the wall and I’m just stoked that I got there.
“I’ve put the last 12 months behind me now and I consider that race the start of my preparations for Rio.”
Magnussen said he was overwhelmed with the emotion of adding a second individual title to his 2011 triumph in Shanghai.
“The last 12 months has sort of kicked me down to the kerb,” Magnussen said.
“But I’ve worked so hard and my support team’s worked so hard.
“I think it’s a great reward for all my friends and family and support team who have stuck by me through what’s been a pretty terrible twelve months.”
McEvoy, 19, was thrilled after finishing ahead of title contenders including Russian Vladamir Morozov (48.01) and Frenchman Fabien Gilot (48.33).
“That was pretty unreal, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like that before,” McEvoy said.