Ian Thorpe makes disappointing return to competitive swimming
Australian swimming great finishes second last in final of 100m medley
Thorpe competing in World Cup short-course event in Singapore
The 29-year-old five-time Olympic champion racing for first time in five years
Ian Thorpe made a low-key return to competitive swimming with a seventh-place finish Friday in the 100m individual medley at a World Cup event in Singapore.
The five-time Olympic champion finished more than three seconds behind winner Chad le Clos in an event he rarely swam when he dominated his sport before retiring five years ago.
“I was doing really well – and then the breaststroke happened,” the 29-year-old Thorpe, told AFP, referring to the third discipline of the medley where he fell back.
Thorpe made a surprise return to swimming in February and has been training in Switzerland under coach Gennadi Touretski.
He opted not to compete in his favorite freestyle events in Singapore, telling the official website of world swimming, that it was “not race ready yet.”
Thorpe will compete in the 100m butterfly in the final day of the two-day meet Saturday before heading to further rounds of the short-course World Cup, held in 25 meter pools, in Beijing and Tokyo.
Touretski said that his charge should not be too disheartened by his performance.
“Ian should get used to the fact that he’s not the strongest at the moment. It’s not easy for any athlete who stayed at such a high level for many years,” he told FINA.org.
Thorpe’s comeback has whetted the appetite of sports fans for a rematch with American superstar Michael Phelps at the 2012 London Olympics, but the Australian will have to qualify at their trials next March if this is to become a reality.
Another Australian veteran, former triple Olympic champion Libby Trickett, who also came out of retirement this year, finished off the pace in her two events Friday.
Trickett, 26, was sixth in the 50m freestyle and eighth and last in the final of the 100m butterfly.