/ 3 November 2011

Thorpe frets over comeback race

Former Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe said on Thursday he’s nervous ahead of his first competitive races in five years this weekend in Singapore.

The 29-year-old Australian, who announced his comeback in February, said his results in training have been inconsistent and he’s not going to try to target a specific time or place.

“It’s not going to be extraordinary and it’s not going to be horrible,” Thorpe told reporters. “I’m the guy who hasn’t swum for five years. I forget that from time to time and I think some other people here might forget that as well. It’s my first time back in the pool it’s not going to be easy.”

Thorpe will be competing in the 100m individual medley and 100m butterfly at a World Cup event in Singapore on Friday and Saturday.

“I’m more nervous than I usually am before a competition,” he said. “As it’s come a bit closer, I’m getting more nervous about it.”

Even though he has yet to return to his peak form, he still feels on track to compete at next year’s London Olympics.

“There are days when I feel like I’m the best swimmer in the world,” he said. “And it’s really strange because the next day I’ll be helpless. I get little glimmers of how I felt when I used to swim.”

Thorpe retired in 2006 after winning five Olympic gold medals and 11 world titles, and setting 13 individual world records. He said his comeback wasn’t motivated by a desire to beat Michael Phelps, the American swimmer who won six gold medals and two bronzes at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and eight golds in Beijing in 2008.

“My biggest rival is time,” Thorpe said. “I’m not the kind of person who races off other people. I’m not a person who gets pumped up to beat someone else.” — Sapa-AP