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Nervy “ Thorpedo ” to hit Singapore Sports School tomorrow

Ian Thorpe will not be expecting any miracles or disasters tomorrow, as he has only one aim; to swim faster than he did before his retirement. (Photo:SSC)

Five-time Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe will be making his comeback starting tomorrow at the FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup 2011 meet in Singapore.

Despite the decorations, the 29-year-old said that he is nervous ahead of his first competitive swim since his retirement in November 2006.

“It won’t be extraordinary and it won’t be horrible,” he declared with a smile, in front of a packed media conference at Marina Mandarin Hotel earlier today.

“It will be something in the middle. I am a guy who hasn’t swum for five years and I forget that sometimes and I think other people do too … this is starting point and a great opportunity to race.”

The Australian legend will be using this Singapore meet to prepare and target a spot in the Australian 2012 Olympics squad.

Thorpe will compete in the 100m Individual Medley on Friday and the 100m Butterfly on Saturday but told fans that they should not be disappointed if the ‘Thorpedo,’ who once destroyed world records and conquered world titles is not able to live up to his name.

Thorpe also shared, “My biggest rival is time. I’m not the kind of person who races off other people. I’m not a person who gets pumped up to beat someone else.”

The last question for Thorpe came as a surprise from the other Australian superstar, Libby Trickett. The multiple gold medallist and world record holder in the 100m Freestyle retired in December 2009 and made her return in September 2010.

Her question to Thorpe: “Do you have any tips for a young woman trying to make her comeback?”

After a long exhale, Thorpe replied with a huge grin on his face, “Tomorrow will always be better.”

After a short break, the conference resumed with the introduction of new swimmers such as Sweden’s sweetheart, Therese Alshammar and Kenya’s swimming wonder, Jason Dunford.

Other panellists included Singapore Swimming Association’s president, Mr Jeffrey Leow, Japanese rising star, Shiho Sakai and Singaporean cub, Joseph Schooling.

Joseph, 16, finished fifth in the boys’ 100m Butterfly final and broke the national 50m Butterfly record at the 3rd FINA World Junior Swimming Championships earlier in August this year.

“My main focus is to gear up for SEA Games and do my best for Singapore,” shared Schooling, who will be appearing for the second time in the World Cup.

“It is pretty intimidating, but I am only 16 and have nothing to lose,” replied Schooling when asked how it feels to compete with one of the swimming legends, Ian Thorpe in the similar 100m Butterfly event.

Jason Dunford, however, had a different answer when asked about his opinion on competing with the ‘Thorpedo’. “I will just look at him like another body in the water without his glorious history and hope to beat him to win the event,” said the talented butterfly sprinter.

The session came to a close with a final question posed to School on his feeling about competing in Singapore before a home crowd. He leaned forward to the mike and said instantly, “To give nothing but my best for Singapore.”

The FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup will be held at the Singapore Sports School from the 4-5 November. Heats will be held at 9am and the finals at 5.30pm on both days. Ticket prices are at $20 per day or $30 for 2 days. To find out more information or ticketing details, please visit http://www.finaworldcup.com.sg/home.htm