Ian Thorpe admits he’s more nervous than ever ahead of his first competitive swim in five years but relieved to be getting it out of the way at the FINA World Cup in Singapore on Friday.
The five-time Olympic gold medallist will return to competition for the first time since the 2006 Commonwealth Games trials at the two-day short course meet, as he targets a place on the Australian Olympic team for next year’s London Games.
Thorpe will compete in the 100m individual medley on Friday and the 100m butterfly on Saturday, opting not to compete in his pet freestyle events.
The 29-year-old fronted a packed media conference at the usually low-key Singapore event on Thursday and admitted although he did not have high expectations, he was anxious about his return to the pool.
“I’m more nervous than I usually am,” Thorpe said.
“I’m excited as well. I was equally as excited as I was nervous but, as it’s drawn a bit closer, I’ve got a bit more nervous.
“I’m hoping once I have a few swims, that will sort of dissipate.
“… It feels like this day has been coming forever.”
While Thorpe admitted failure was “the most likely outcome” in his comeback, he indicated his preparations were well on track and said there were days he felt like “the best swimmer in the world”.
However he said he had no expectations or specific goals for his first meet in five years.
“I have neither a time nor a place (as a goal),” Thorpe said.
“I’d be lying if I said that ‘I think I’ll be able to do this or that’. I really don’t know.
“There’s an area that I’ll fall into. It’s not going to be extraordinary. It’s not going to be horrible. It’s something in the middle.
“… I have to remind myself I’m the guy who hasn’t swum for five years. I forget that from time to time and I think some other people do too.
“… It’s not going to be easy but it becomes an important step of what I’m going to next year.”
Thorpe finalised his preparation’s for Friday’s swim with a light 90-minute session at the Singapore Sports School on Thursday morning.
A large media contingent watched on as Thorpe trained and spoke with his Swiss coach Gennadi Touretski and Australian head coach Leigh Nugent.