Olympic Swimming 2012: Australia's James Magnussen & Stephanie Rice Set to Star

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2012

SANTA CLARA, CA - JUNE 02:  Stephanie Rice of Australia competes in the women's 400 meter IM during day 3 of the Santa Clara International Grand Prix at George F. Haines International Swim Center on June 2, 2012 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Australia possesses two of the world's best and brightest swimming stars, James Magnussen and Stephanie Rice, and the two of them are set to blow up the Olympic Games in 2012.

Many of you may remember Rice from her phenomenal performances in the 2008 Olympics when she won three gold medals.

The 24-year-old swimming sensation hasn't slowed down since then, posting a third-place finish in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai and pitching in on Australia's third-place finish in the women's 4x100-meter medley.

Rice also won first place in the women's 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley at the 2012 Australian National Championships leading up to the Olympics.

Magnussen, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer to the international stage, as he burst onto the scene in the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai with a gold medal in the men's 100-meter freestyle. He also helped Australia beat France and the USA in the men's 4x100-meter freestyle, and you can be sure Michael Phelps and the boys will be gunning for him and the Aussies in London.

The 20-year-old phenom's raw speed at the short-distance races has caused Phelps to withdraw from the men's 100-meter freestyle, according to Jim Tucker of the Courier-Mail.

Phelps withdrew from Saturday's 100m freestyle at the US trials in Omaha as he started sorting the events he can win in London to add to an untouchable legacy that already stands at 14 Olympic golds.

The pool legend had entertained a dash at the blue-ribband 100m freestyle but with coach Bob Bowman has settled on the 400m individual medley at the endurance end of his race list instead.

That's what I call intimidation.

Right now, there isn't a male swimmer in the world who can compete against Magnussen when it comes to short-burst races like the 100-meter freestyle. USA's best sprinter at the 100-meter freestyle this summer has been Nathan Adrian, who finished in 48.10 seconds, a full second off of Magnussen's best time of 47.10, according to London2012Olympics.com.au.

He is primed to continue his dominance in London in the sprints, and you have to consider Australia the favorites to win the men's 4x100-meter freestyle over USA and France until they are beaten.

Rice and Magnussen are going to continue dominating their disciplines this summer in London. The two of them are Australia's best hope to tally a handful of gold medals for swimming, and they won't disappoint.