Swimming: 'Thorpedo' ready for one last plunge in the pool

 

In his prime, between 1999-2004, he was the fastest swimmer on the planet over 400 metres, and it was a major disappointment when Australia's Ian Thorpe failed to qualify for London 2012.

But the five-time Olympic champion – he won three golds at Sydney 2000 and two in Athens 2004 – is determined to bring down the curtain on his competitive career with a flourish.

The "Thorpedo", who turned 30 last year, says he ran out of time as he fought to regain his best form in both the 100 and 200 metres in time for the London Olympics and dropped his trademark event last year, but insists, "I still have a life in the pool."

Thorpe, who had returned to competitive swimming in 2006, feels one last plunge into the pool is within his grasp. "It would be nice to allow myself to come full circle in my swimming career. I simply didn't have enough time [before London] to prepare the way I wanted to and I had to compromise.

"Now I can do exactly the training that I need to do with time on my side and I can get a preparation that will enable me to swim really well. Having success again would be what that younger athlete I once was would tell me to do."

Thorpe, the winner of nine Olympic medals overall, has targeted the Australian trials, starting on 26 April, before the World Championships in Barcelona in July. He is also optimistic that with a solid preparation under his belt he could be selected for Australia's 2014 Commonwealth Games squad in Glasgow.

"I wish my return went the other way and I qualified for London but I found for myself the reason I love swimming," he explained. "Everything is on a two-year plan for me these days. What I didn't like about London was that I was rushing to make it. I'm not going to do that this time."

Thorpe has overcome a well-publicised battle with alcohol abuse and depression, which he had kept hidden from his family and friends. He addressed his sleepless nights of torment in a 2012 autobiography but still finds it painful to discuss the mental anguish that climaxed during his peak years in the pool.

"It's a difficult subject for me," he said. "When you get to a point when you rationalise the process of suicide, you can't sleep at all at night and feel it's actually a viable option, that's when you know you need more help. I hit rock bottom, then found another layer below that."

Thorpe accepts there is no cure to his crippling depression but is relieved to have finally banished the suicidal thoughts. "Even today, at a time when I'm pretty happy with my life, I have to manage what is quite a severe illness," he said. "It's a day-by-day proposition."

Suggested Topics
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Robin van Persie scores the third for Manchester United with a perfectly-guided header
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all