Monday, 14 November 2011

Evaluating Ian Thorpe's Return

Ian Thorpe's first attempt back in the world of competitive swimming is in the books. As the dust settles, let's evaluate how it went.


- Thorpe was considerably faster in the Tokyo World Cup leg than he was in Singapore and Beijing.
- In Tokyo he was able to hold on much better in the second half of races showing that his 'race fitness' was improving. In theory, the more competitions he does, the better this will become.
- Thorpe, his coach Gennadi Touretski and Australian head coach Leigh Nugent were making all the right noises at each world cup stop, stating that the comeback was still on course.
- His freestyle stroke still looks more suited to the 200m Free, which we are yet to see. At this stage his best bet at Olympic qualification looks to be the 4 x 200m Free relay.
- We've just seen Thorpe at his rustiest and he was still only half a second down on established guys like Alain Bernard in heats. For all we know, Thorpe could have dropped another second in the 100m Free final had he qualified.
- Thorpe still has 4 long months of training ahead of him before Australian Trials.


- Thorpe only has 4 short months of training ahead of him before Australian Trials.
- Thorpe still has A LONG way to go. He failed to final in his two best swims, Tokyo's 100m Free and 100m Fly. In the 100m Free he was a full 2 seconds behind the eventual winner Kyle Richardson's time.
- Richardson sums up his problem. There might not be a more difficult relay team to make than the reigning world champion Aussie 4 x 100m Free team.
- He's going to need to work even harder on his starts and turns. 4 months might will not be long enough to catch up on these technical aspects. All he can do now is mitigate his losses in these areas. Nugent believes that he is trying to stay under water too long on his turns.
- One comment that Thorpe made stuck out like a sore thumb - "This week has been challenging, I wish I could have done it with no-one watching - but that's unfortunately not the case." This is the same guy that retired from the sport because of the intense media scrutiny he was under. Hopefully the same demons that haunted him in previous years aren't resurfacing before the comeback has really taken shape.

Thorpedo's Times (best times and splits in bold)


100m IM (Heat) - 56.74 (26.14 / 30.60)
100m IM (Final) - 56.33 (25.14 / 31.19)
100m Fly (Heat) - 54.09 (25.27 / 28.82)


100m Free (Heat) - 50.21 (24.00 / 26.21)
100m IM (Heat) - 56.70 (26.22 / 30.48)
100m Fly (Heat) -54.35 (25.29 / 29.06)


100m Free (Heat) - 49.45 (24.08 / 25.37)
100m Fly (Heats) - 53.59 (25.11 / 28.48)


  1. His breakouts seemed really delayed, which I would assume goes along w/ what Coach Nugent was saying.

  2. I was - am - really hoping he could - or can - pull this off. I have to say, though, that it really looks like a bridge too far right now.

    49.45 is fast but it's not very fast and to make the Aussie Olympic 4x100, he's going to have to be very, very fast. Just do not think he can do it.

  3. I think it'll take about 48.8 to make the top 6 in the 100m free. At the moment, he's about 2 seconds away from that. I would think that it's not going to be impossible, given that most of that 2 seconds is probably going to come from race experience, increased fitness, and most importantly taper.

    The road to the top 6 in the 200m free will be much easier, as it only took a sub149 to make the top 6 this year. On the other hand, it will probably take a 147verylow to snag an individual spot, which would be a very pedestrian time for Thorpe 5 years ago.

    I'm finding a lot of solace int he fact that Thorpe is already speaking as if he's going to be in London. When asked about Park Tae Hwan, he responded saying that he would meet him in London. He's exuding the type of confidence that suggests that, even though he won't say it to the press directly, that he knows he has a legitimate chance of qualifying for London

  4. 48.8 to make the top 6? Yeah, just 2 seconds away from that