ADELAIDE, Australia, March 16 (BSS/AFP) - Ian Thorpe reached the semi-finals of the 200 metres freestyle with the equal fifth- fastest time in his first swim at the Australian Olympic trials in Adelaide on Friday.
The five-time Olympic gold medallist dead-heated for second in his heat with David McKeon in a time of one minute 49.16 seconds to negotiate the first hurdle in his comeback bid to qualify for this year's London Olympics.
Thorpe was well out in front at halfway but was passed by
Ryan Napoleon who swam the fastest time in the heats of 1:48.27
in the third-last heat.
"That's a pretty decent time. I was happy with that swim
this morning," Thorpe said of his best 200m freestyle time in his
Thorpe will now attempt to reach the final eight by
competing in the semi-finals in Friday's night session. The final
is scheduled for Saturday.
The attempt by Australia's most successful Olympian to
compete in July's London Games has dominated the lead-up to the
Thorpe, 29, who won a total of five golds at the Sydney and
Athens Olympics, has struggled to reproduce anywhere near the
times he swam in his prime with a string of disappointing results
since his comeback in Singapore in November.
But coaches and rival swimmers have warned against writing
off the "Thorpedo", who ruled the pool from 1998 to 2004, taking
nine Olympic medals and 11 world titles, while setting 13 long
course world records.
Thorpe formerly held the world record in the 200m freestyle
at 1:44.06, which remains the Australian record.