Thorpe's London quest ends

18 March 2012

Ian Thorpe's London Olympic comeback dream is over after he missed qualification into the 100m freestyle semi-finals at the Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide on Sunday.

The five-time Olympic gold medallist improved on the best time of his comeback to clock 50.35 seconds and win his heat but managed only the 21st best time of the morning to clearly miss out on Sunday night's semi-finals.

World champion James Magnussen was fastest qualifier with a sizzling heat swim of 48.26 ahead of Matt Targett (48.85), Tommaso D'Orsogna (49.18), Eamon Sullivan (49.29) and Matt Abood (49.33).

Magnussen, 20, admitted regret that Thorpe would not be swimming in London.

"Thorpie's been someone I've always admired as a swimmer so it is upsetting for him and the rest of us do feel his pain," said London gold medal favourite Magnussen.

"It would have been great to have him there in London and it's disappointing he's not going to be there but all I can do now is focus on my own race."

Thorpe's fellow comeback swimmer Michael Klim clocked 49.79 to win through to the semis in 11th fastest.

Thorpe was expected to struggle to progress in a strong 100m field having already bowed out of the 200m freestyle, considered his best chance to qualify.

He clearly improved on the best 100m time since returning to competition, a 50.76 he clocked in Luxembourg last month.

Thorpe has indicated he will continue swimming beyond the trials, possibly with a view to competing at next year's world championships in Barcelona and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Australian head coach Leigh Nugent said it was possible Thorpe could continue swimming until the Rio Olympics in 2016.

A disappointed Thorpe reiterated his desire to swim on.

"I hadn't thought about it very much ... but I think now I'll probably take a few days off and enjoy the competition and then sit down with a few people, (Australian head coach) Leigh Nugent and my coach Gennadi (Touretski) and work out what is next, work out what the next preparation will be and what competition will be next," Thorpe said.

"I'm still swimming.

"When I started this I wanted to get back in the pool, I wanted to race and I wanted to go to the Olympics. I still want to do all of those things.

"I've missed out on a huge goal ... but the desire is still there."

Thorpe did not rule out suggestions he could swim on until the Rio 2016 Olympics and said he had no regrets about his decision to make a comeback.

"No. Overall, no," Thorpe said.

"It's tough. It's hard coming to this competition and really failing in what I set out to do. I'm disappointed that I really haven't been able to race in a way that's reflective of the hard work that I've done.

"I'm glad I was willing to put myself out there."

AAP

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