Friday, 24 February 2012

Ian Thorpe Will Swim 400m Free This Weekend

This weekend in Zurich will see the return of Ian Thorpe to an event he dominated for the best part of a generation, the 400m Freestyle. In his last competition before the Australian Olympic Trials, Thorpedo will compete in both the 100m and 400m Freestyle.


While this development is being put forward as simply an experiment for racing, it does raise some interesting questions.

Could Thorpe make the Australia team on the 400m Free?

As strange as it sounds given his focus on sprinting, the 400m Free might turn out to offer Thorpe a slim remote surprise chance at making it to London 2012. Australia's top two last year were Ryan Napoleon (3:45.16, 6th in the world last year) and Thomas Fraser-Holmes (3:46.54, 10th in the world last year). To get down to 3:45 will likely prove too much for Thorpe, but it should be remembered that those times are over 5 seconds down on his best time.

It is also worth mentioning that Leigh Nugent didn't 100% rule out the move up to 400m. "The 400m is more about experimenting with his racing, not so much about what he would be intending to do at trials... It's pretty much off the agenda (for the trials). But he's been going pretty well. He has been pretty happy with his progress."

'Pretty much off the agenda' does not equal 'Off the agenda'.

Would Thorpe have a chance to win the 400m Free in London?


Sun Yang, Park Tae-Hwan, Yannick Agnel and Paul Biedermann are too good for that to happen.

What will the 400 Free tell us about his 200 Free?

So far Thorpe has been struggling at the end of his races, whether they be over 100m or 200m. Seeing him race a 400m Free should give us some clues to his conditioning in his last competition before Olympic Trials.

Unless the entire comeback has been a smoke and mirror show, Thorpe needs to show increased endurance at the end of his races. Chances are if he struggles in the 400m Free in Zurich, he is going to struggle in the 200m Free at Trials, his best chance at making the Olympic team.

What should we make of Leigh Nugent's optimism?

The last time we saw a story about Thorpe and Nugent, it focused on Thorpedo's lack of fitness, motivation and confidence. Now, less than four weeks on, everything is smelling of roses?

Thorpe's been going 'pretty well, he has been pretty happy with his progress'.

Well, I will still be pretty surprised if he makes the Aussie Olympic team. I hope I'm wrong there though.

Why hasn't there been a vote on this blog for such a long time?

Good point. New vote launched. Will Ian Thorpe make the Australian Olympic Team. Yes/No? You decide.

(Hat tip to The Swimmers Daily for the Thorpe story)


  1. I think he will make the team, his best chance will be one of the 6 six places in the 800 FR team. 6th fastest Australian last year was Ned mckendry at 1:48.48

    I predict Thorpe will swim around 1:48low
    That should make the team, I think.

  2. On a second thought, I think Thorpe can swim 1:47 in the Aussie trials, and will make the team.

    Mark this space...or not. lol

  3. Yeah - I think he'll squeak in with a relay berth.

    Hilariously for my birthday my Mum bought me a 'Knit Your Own Olympians' book so now I can make my own Thorpey:

  4. Any news on how Michael Klim's comeback is going? It would be great to see the golden oldies of Klim, Thorpe and Huegill all going to London!

  5. I really don't know given that almost everyone has had a quiet season downunder.

    The 1.48s are in easy range of 10 swimmers at least. I might expect them to lift down to the 1.47s if I had any confidence in the Oz men . But i don't. My observations are based 2005-2011. I will be peasantly surprised but I think except for the 100& relay they should just take the women.

    If you are reading this -sorry guys -but them's the facts.

    1. Harsh, but somewhat true based on... the facts.
      Hackett and Thorpe excluded, the Aussie men seem to have hit an obstacle that is 1:47 (that is since 2006 at least, and not including the cheater suit era).

      There will however be a few swimmers who will reach 1:47 this year, and some who may even reach 1:46. I think at least two will reach those times; new swimmers, new blood in the team. I'll be surprised if they don't.

      The 200 is not an easy event to swim, and it seems those skills have eluded the Aussie guys, perhaps due to lack of experience and real challenge. I think this year will change that, and not because Thorpe is back, but because the new talent is rising to the top. I hope at least.

    2. woowoo, I agree with you. I think at least one cameron McEvoy will go 1:46
      David Mc Keon and Ryan Napoleon can also go sub 1:47

    3. ! 46s & 1.47s are frankly not enough.

      It is time to either make the grade or stay home.

      1.45.5 is the time needed to final.

  6. Hmmm... did anyone see the start list for the 400?
    Thorpe's seeded with a 3:50.00.

    Nice round figure, surprisingly fast (maybe?).
    Did he actually swim a 3:50 at some stage or did they just make up a figure to enter him in the race?

    1. That will be made up, this is his first 400 Free since he came back. I also thought it was a bit ambitious...

      His 52.28 from this morning doesn't inspire too much confidence. Hopefully he was saving himself for the 400 which should be happening any moment now in Switzerland.

    2. Thanks Tom. Makes sense.
      I didn't know it was possible to make up a time, but I guess to enter a meet, you don't necessarily have to have swum and posted a time prior. I thought however such swimmers would be placed in the slowest heat.

  7. 3.59 for thorpes 400m free just under 20 secs of his pb. It's not looking good for him to go sub 1.50 on the 200m. His time frame was too tight to get back up to top race speed by trials in 3 weeks. He should have focussed on his best natural event the 400m. Still in with a shout but it's a long shot.

  8. His 400 time is worse, relatively, than his 100-200
    This shows his lack of general fitness.
    He should have made his comeback a year earlier

  9. Brutal -

    "He started his weekend with a tardy 52.28sec in the 100m freestyle, before posting a confidence-crushing 3min 59.48sec in the 400m."

  10. Very worrying indeed, but I think he can still qualify in the 800 FR

  11. There isn't an 800m free for men in the olympics.

    1. aswimfan knows his swimming, he means the 4 x 200 Free relay.

    2. Thanks Tom.

      800 FR = 800 Free Relay

  12. There are 3 1.47s plus Macevoy 1.48 plus Killey 1.48.3 (Jan ). plus 2 very experienced mid 1.58s (Ffrost & Kyle ) plus newby David MacKeon. D'Orsagno was a worlds s/c finalist in high 1.42s so
    maybe he can demonstrate his promise.

    James Magnusseen is theoretically capable of 1.47 .

    I think it will take a sub 1.50- to semi. mid 1.48.5 to final. High 1.47 for 6th .

    1I will say ThOrpe at 1.47.7 tops. Hit & miss for a relay spot.

  13. I think Swimming Australia might enact 'Libby's Rule' again this year... if they are allowed to in an Olympic year.
    I hate referring to it as that, but this rule/policy is what was introduced last year for the World Champs selection; the final spot for the relays was decided in June, 3 months after trials, allowing swimmers a second chance if they swam faster than 6th place at trials.

    It was thought to give Libby a chance to make the team but unfortunately she missed out. It's a great idea though and it might be what is needed to give Thorpe a spot this year. He'll be stronger still in June in both the 100 and 200.

  14. Woowoo. Not seeing it.

  15. You reckon they won't have a relay berth trial in June, or that if they do, Thorpe still won't make it?

    They haven't actually announced that as a plan; I was just speculating. If they were doing it they probably would have mentioned something by now.
    It's a shame though. I think it's good to at least open the relays to others at a later date to make them more competitive.

  16. I believe the selection process for all sports were to be submitted to the Sports Commission & AOC -agreed to & publicized some time ago -maybe 2004. Further the directive was backed by financial threats/guarantees.

    As for Ian -I simply do not know. That is what trials are for . Nuttin to do with me.

  17. Clarification - The directive began maybe for the 04 Olympics to shut down challenges .

  18. Further clarification . Team is allowed 12 relay only swimmers. So theoretically if Ian gets a 7th spot & the other 3-6 place -getters are also event qualified or double relay qualifiers then a possibility .

    I think they did this successfully with Felicity Galvez in 08 but she had the suit mix up.

    For Thorpe - this would label him as desperate. IMO top 6 or not. Oz is not anywhere near medalling anyhow. It is all getting ridiculous .