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Thorpe unlikely to target worlds

29 January 2013

SWIMMING: Ian Thorpe looks increasingly likely to forgo a tilt at this year's world swimming championships in favour of targeting next year's Commonwealth Games.

Thorpe has clearly signalled his intention to continue swimming since missing out on a spot on Australia's London Olympic team.

But with world championship trials less than three months away, Thorpe is yet to confirm whether or not he will attempt to win a place on Australia's team for the July/August world titles in Barcelona.

While Thorpe has continued to train in and out of the pool since the Olympic trials, it's understood he will only return to Switzerland to recommence full work under Russian coach Gennadi Touretski in February.

That would leave him little time to prepare fully for trials and it appears more likely the five-time Olympic gold medallist will return to competition later this year with a view to being fully ready for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games trials.

It would also allow Thorpe time to train for his former pet event, the 400m freestyle, having opted not to include it in his London preparations.

As the Australian swim team assembled for a six-day national camp on the Gold Coast on Monday, Thorpe was due to return from a week-long holiday in Bali.

Australian head coach Leigh Nugent said he was yet to speak with Thorpe about his intentions.

The coach plans to do so after the camp but admitted it was unlikely Thorpe would be ready for trials unless he had been training heavily on his own.

Thorpe returned to competition almost five months before last year's national trials, at the FINA World Cup in Singapore.

"I haven't heard from him, so I can't validate anything, but he's not training in any programs in Australia that I know of," Nugent told AAP.

"Unless he was doing some training somewhere else, and doing a fair bit of it, he wouldn't be ready.

"... You'd expect anyone who was going to prepare for the world championship trials would be doing some racing by now."

Thorpe's manager James Erskine could shed no light on his client's immediately swimming future on Monday.

"There's no update. I've got nothing to say. There's no update, to my knowledge," Erskine told AAP.

World championship trials will be held in Adelaide from April 26.

Liam FitzGibbon

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