Five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe said it's still too “premature” to judge the success of his swimming comeback, despite his disappointing results in recent competitions.
Thorpe finished 16th overall in the 100-meter freestyle and 10th in his first 200 freestyle race in almost six years at the Italian Winter Championships over the weekend, his first long-course meet of his comeback. He was still several seconds off the times he will need to qualify for the Australian team at the national Olympic trials in March.
"I'm in training at the moment, I came here to take the opportunity to race, and to race against fast swimmers," he was quoted as saying by The Australian newspaper on Monday. "I don't look at where I come in the race.
"I look at the time, how fast it is. I watch it, I critique my race after it but I have no control of what the others are doing. It's not a concern now, maybe later, but now it's too premature."
The 29-year-old Thorpe came out of more than five years of retirement earlier this year in a bid to swim for Australia at next year's London Olympics. As well as Olympic gold, Thorpe won 11 world titles and set 13 individual world records.
Thorpe said racing still feels unfamiliar to him, but things are coming back every time he gets in the pool.
"It's important that I race, whether it's a good result or a bad result, I have to keep racing at this stage," he said.
Thorpe has struggled at short-course World Cup meets in Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo since returning to the water. But he said he felt more comfortable racing in one of his favorite events, the 200 free, in Italy.
He finished in a time of 1 minute, 51.51 seconds, which was 7 seconds off his best time in the event.