James Magnussen
Courtesy of: Rob Schumacher - USA Today Sports
TOLENTINO, Italy, July 12. JAMES Magnussen, the reigning world champion in the 100 freestyle, signed a sponsorship deal this week with Arena, giving the swimwear company a major presence Down Under.

Though terms of the agreement were not disclosed, the signing is a big coup for Arena, who has to overcome a strong foothold by Speedo in Australia. With Speedo's birthplace lying in Australia, the brand has become synonymous with Australian swimming. Now, Arena can boast Magnussen and Emily Seebohm as its two Australian members of the Elite Team.

"I am very excited and honoured to be working with Arena in the future of my swimming career," said Magnussen in a statement. "The company and the people are highly respected all over the swimming world and so to be joining the International Elite team is something that means a lot to me. Arena shares my passion for swimming and working hard to achieve great things in the water so it is a strong fit for me. I am hopeful of many successes in the future with the Arena Team."

Arena's list of sponsored athletes features swimmers who hail mostly from European countries, including Olympic champions Alain Bernard, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Daniel Gyurta.

"We are really excited to welcome a sprinter of James' calibre to the arena family," said Giuseppe Musciacchio, Arena General Manager of Brand Development. "His rapid rise to prominence and his consistently improving results have shown him to be an athlete of immense talent in swimming's most competitive disciplines. It is also very pleasing to add another Australian to our Elite Team along with Emily Seebohm. Together we believe we can achieve great things -- arena is a really good match for James, given our focus on youth and innovation and quality, while for us he is a bold and appealing personality for the brand in the sport's most prominent events. Every time a champion like James chooses to work with us, we appreciate a little bit more that we're doing things right at arena. We are looking forward to our future collaboration with James, and the chance to help him realize his full potential."

Magnussen will make his 2013 world championship debut in Arena gear on July 28, the day of the finals of the men's 400 freestyle relay at the world championships in Barcelona. He will also defend his world title in the 100 freestyle, a title he won in 2011 before settling for silver at the London Olympics in the event.

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