Swimming: Ian Thorpe blows 200m Olympic comeback bid
IAN Thorpe’s hopes of competing in a third Olympic Games lie in jeopardy after he crashed out of the 200 metres freestyle semi-finals at Australia’s swimming championships, leaving him “gutted” and casting a pall over the national trials in Adelaide.
Thorpe, whose rushed comeback bid after five years out of the pool has captivated the Australian public, charged out of the blocks but flagged dramatically in the final lap to finish sixth in his semi-final and 12th overall to miss the final. The five-times Olympic champion had earlier teased a thrilled crowd at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre by qualifying equal fifth fastest into the semi-finals after a solid swim in his morning heat.
After the semi-final, though, the silence was deafening as he emerged crestfallen for a poolside interview. “The fairytale has turned into a nightmare. I’ll hear about it tomorrow,” he said, shell-shocked by the pool. “I guess what I’m probably most disappointed about, I was really pleased with my race this morning.
“I swam the race really well this morning, with a lot of control, felt that I’d progress not only tonight, but into the final tomorrow evening. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
“After the race when I experienced that kind of silence I felt not only the disappointment for myself, but the disappointment for other people as well.”
The 29-year-old’s time of one minute 49.91 seconds was more than two seconds behind pace-setter Ryan Napoleon and five seconds adrift of his personal best set in 2001.
It leaves Thorpe with a mammoth task to book a ticket to London, with the 100 freestyle – his last-chance saloon – boasting an ultra-competitive field including world champion James Magnussen and the other members of the gold-medal-winning relay team from last year’s world championships in Shanghai.
“I have to get myself back up. It’s fine to be disappointed. There’s a little bit of time to allow myself to do that tonight,” the 11-times world champion said.
“I still want my spot on this team. It got a bit harder this evening, but I’ll find something within myself to give myself the best shot and try not to let this detract from that possibility.”
Thorpe’s failure in the 100 would amount to a major embarrassment for governing body Swimming Australia which has backed the swimmer, funding his comeback and those of a number of ageing former champions making a last bid for the London Games.
The crowd’s disappointment was compounded by the failure of sentimental favourite Libby Trickett, another swimmer on the comeback trail, to qualify in the 100 butterfly. The triple Olympic champion came third in the final behind winner and world silver medallist Alicia Coutts to miss out on the chance to defend her title in London.
Trickett has another chance to qualify in the 100 freestyle at the weekend.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west