GC swim star James Roberts named in Rio relay team

Gold Coast swimmer James Roberts has been handed a spot in the Australian relay squad for the Rio Olympic Games in August.

Matt Abood and James Magnussen were also named in the men’s 4x100m men’s freestyle relay after FINA confirmed Australia’s quota spot in the event.

They’ll be joined by another Gold Coast swim star, Cameron McEvoy, who had already qualified.


Roberts, Magnussen and Abood, who finished third, fourth and fifth in the 100m freestyle at the trials in April, have had to wait for confirmation of the relay quota spot after the Australian men missed the top 12 ranking at the World Championships.

Their relay swim of 3:12.26 minutes at the trials has them ranked third in the world over 2015-16 and ready to perform at Rio 2016 in August.

The only two countries to have swum faster in the past 18 months were Italy (3:10.74) and Russia (3:11.19) at the 2015 World Championships.

Roberts has struggled with shoulder issues over the past couple of years and is looking forward to heading off to his second Games.

“I had two major shoulder reconstructions, the right in October 2014 and the left in February 2015. I had around nine months out of the water and was back swimming in August. I have also had to manage a chronic lower back injury over the past few years,” he said in a statement on the Australian Olympic Team website.

For Roberts it was a relief to have official confirmation he’s off to his second Games.

“I guess it was a little nerve racking waiting for official confirmation. It was a different situation for us having to qualify the relay at the end of trials, but we were confident with the time we had posted. It was just a matter of time really.

“I cannot explain the feeling when I looked up to see I had placed third. It was mainly relief. I guess I was a little surprised with the result and to post my second fastest 100m time ever after my surgeries.

“It was extra special to share the moment with my girlfriend who had seen my struggles over the past few years, and my coach Ashley Callus who has also been my friend and mentor throughout my swimming career.”

Roberts, who finished fourth in the relay alongside Magnussen at the Games four years ago, said there is a lot of hard work to be done in the next 60 days.

“We are in a good position but still have a big job ahead of us. It is a strong team and I am looking forward to swimming alongside the other boys and representing Australia.”

For Abood, who was fifth at the trials, the Games represent the realisation of a lifelong dream.

He turns 30 in a few weeks and will be the sixth oldest Australian swimmer at an Olympics.

“I’m not exactly sure how I will feel come the time to walk into the village wearing the green and gold,” Abood said in a statement.

“But I am sure when that time comes I’ll take a quiet moment for myself to soak it up and enjoy the moment.”

“I think I’ll be one of the oldest Olympic rookies in swimming ever so no doubt there will be many new experiences.”

Training camp in Townsville begins. #day1 #roadtorio #rio2016

A photo posted by James Roberts (@james_roberts__) on