SYDNEY, Australia, December 21. ANY chance of Ian Thorpe swimming the 400-meter freestyle at the Commonwealth Games has apparently been crushed. According to a story in the Herald Sun, National Team Coach Alan Thompson has been unable to convince Thorpe to swim his signature event. Returning from a break following the Athens Olympics in 2004, Thorpe doesn’t appear ready to swim the 400, though he is in good shape for the 100 and 200 distances.
"It was a hope of mine, but we just didn't get there," Thompson said in the newspaper story. "He is not ready to swim it at the trials in late January so I didn't have any success. He has made a plan and I think he's keen to stick to his plan. It's working all right so I can't be disappointed. I probably wouldn't have even broached it with him if we had Grant (Hackett) and Nic Sprenger 100 percent right."
With Hackett recovering from shoulder surgery and Sprenger affected by a virus, Australia has been weakened in the distance events, which led Thompson to appeal to Thorpe. Last week, after swimming the third-fastest time in the world this year for the 200 free, Thorpe declared that he is chasing his world records in the 200 and 400 free events en route to the Beijing Olympics. It seems, though, that it’s a bit early for the 400.