Thorpe is back to the pool

Federations News

Swimming Australia National Head Coach Leigh Nugent says he is delighted to welcome five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe back to swimming, and is looking forward to his competitive return to the pool later this year.

Thorpe, who announced his intention today to return to the competition pool, also submitted a FINA Return to Competition Form* to Swimming Australia, which has now been sent to the international governing body for processing.

Once the form is processed by FINA, which usually takes 3-5 working days, Thorpe will then have to wait nine months before he can compete domestically and internationally at a FINA recognised competition.

This would mean the 28-year-old, who was first selected to represent Australia at age 14, would have approximately five months in which to compete before the 2012 Australian Swimming Championships, incorporating the selection trials for the swimming component of the 2012 London Olympic Games, which are due to be held in late March 2012 at a venue to be confirmed.

“This is fantastic news for our sport and the Australian Swim Team, and I’m particularly excited for Ian that he’s decided to return to the pool,” said Nugent.

“Like many of us, I have been hoping for this decision, but like I’ve said a lot over the last couple of months, this was always going to be something that Ian would have to decide for himself, and announce for himself.”

“To hear Ian publically declare his intention to return to the pool today, with the aim of further Olympic success in London, is a massive boost for swimming in Australia and our aim of returning to the top of world swimming.”

Nugent, who last year welcomed back Libby Trickett to the sport and recently saw Geoff Huegill confirm his intentions for 2012, has been providing Thorpe with training programs for the last couple of months.

“Ian looks to be in pretty good shape, and I know he’s been enjoying being back in the water and training to keep fit.”

“Now that he’s confirmed his intention to compete, we can really increase his training and make good steps towards further success. We know he is an outstanding athlete, and with application and commitment he will make a success of this comeback.”

While Thorpe will not be able to swim for Australia at this year’s World Championships in Shanghai in July, Nugent says his return will be a boost for the sport at all levels.

“It has been a great start to the year. Libby is well and truly back into training and we have seen Geoff Huegill confirm his intentions; we launched an outstanding new swimming concept with the Summer Swim Series at the weekend, with some of the young swimmers getting a real opportunity to show their skills, and now Ian is looking to return to international competition,” said Nugent.

“The pieces of the puzzle are coming together, and the timing is just right for London.”

Swimming Australia CEO Kevin Neil said today’s announcement is another boost to the sport in addition to the increased funding announced by the Minister for Sport Mark Arbib last week.

“This is great news for swimming and great news for Australian sport,” said Neil.

“Our athletes and coaches have started the preparation for London and the specific additional funding announced by the Minister on Friday will assist us further in bringing through some of the fresh young talent in our sport, as well nurturing the likes of Trickett, Huegill, Rice and now Thorpe.”

It is expected Thorpe will look to compete overseas at a FINA World Cup event in November, while his first competitive swim in Australia may well be at the Queensland State Championships in Brisbane in December.

*Note: FINA Return to Competition Form - DC 5.5.2 - A Competitor who has given notice to FINA may not resume competing unless he or she notifies FINA in writing at least nine (9) months before he or she expects to return to Competition and is available for unannounced Out-of-Competition Testing at any time during the period before actual return to Competition. A Competitor seeking reinstatement is subject to these Anti-Doping Rules in their entirety from the date reinstatement is requested.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Ian James Thorpe – Australian Swimmer No. 494
Born: 13 October 1982, Sydney

Personal Best Times
100m freestyle – 48.56 – 2004 Athens Olympic Games
200m freestyle – 1:44.06 – 2001 World Championships, Fukuoka, Japan
400m freestyle – 3:40.08 – 2001 World Championships, Fukuoka, Japan
800m freestyle – 7:39.16 – 2001 World Championships, Fukuoka, Japan

Olympic Medals – Five gold, three silver and one bronze in total
Gold – 2000 Sydney, 400m freestyle
Gold – 2000 Sydney, 4x100m freestyle relay
Gold – 2000 Sydney, 4x200m freestyle relay
Gold – 2004 Athens, 200m freestyle
Gold – 2004 Athens, 400m freestyle
Silver – 2000 Sydney, 200m freestyle
Silver – 2000 Sydney, 4x100m medley relay
Silver – 2004 Athens, 4x200m freestyle relay
Bronze – 2004 Athens, 100m freestyle

Individual World Records (long course) – 13 long course world records across three events
Men’s 200m freestyle (1:45.51) world record holder from 23 August 1999 to 17 September 2000
Men’s 200m freestyle (1:44.06) world record holder from 27 March 2001 to 27 March 2007
Note: Ian Thorpe broke the men’s 200m freestyle world record six times during these two periods.
Men’s 400m freestyle (3:40.08) world record holder from 22 August 1999 to 26 July 2009
Note: Ian Thorpe broke the men’s 400m freestyle world record five times during this period.
Men’s 800m freestyle (7:39.16) world record holder from 26 March 2001 to 27 July 2005
Note: Ian Thorpe broke the men’s 800m freestyle world record twice during this period.

World Championship Medals – 11 gold, one silver, one bronze in total
1998 Perth - Two Gold – 400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay
2001 Fukuoka – Six Gold – 200, 400, 800m freestyle, 4x100, 4x200, 4x100 medley relay
2003 Barcelona – Three Gold, One Silver, One Bronze – 200, 400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay, 200m IM (silver), 100m freestyle (bronze)

Commonwealth Games Medals – 10 gold and one silver in total
1998 Kuala Lumpur – Four Gold – 200, 400m freestyle, 4x100, 4x200m freestyle relay
2002 Manchester – Six Gold, One Silver – 100, 200, 400m freestyle, 4x100, 4x200, 4x100 medley relay, 100m backstroke (silver)

Fast Facts

· Ian Thorpe is the youngest ever male to be selected to swim for Australia at the age of 14, ahead of the 1998 World Championships
· He was named Young Australian of the Year in 2000
· He took a year off swimming after the Athens Olympic Games
· He then scheduled a return to the sport for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, only to withdraw due to illness
· He last swam competitively at the 2006 Australian Championships in Melbourne where he won the 100m freestyle with a time of 49.28, after a time of 48.86 in the semi-finals. He also won the 200m freestyle with a time of 1:46.42.
· Initially retired from competitive swimming on 22 November 2006
· Announced his intention to return to competitive swimming on 2 February 2011

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