Olympic swimming gold medallists Ian Thorpe and Libby Trickett will both make their long awaited return to international competition at the FINA Arena World Cup in Singapore tomorrow, Friday 4 November, with the duo officially launching their campaign for selection onto the Australian team for London 2012.
For Thorpe, it will be 2099 days since he last swam competitively at the 2006 Australian Championships, winning the 100m freestyle in a time of 48.86, before withdrawing from the Melbourne Commonwealth Games later that year due to illness.
Trickett on the other hand, swam domestically at the Australian Short Course Championships in Adelaide in July this year, and last swam internationally at the 2009 world championships in Rome where she won two bronze medals in the 100 and 4x100m freestyle.
Between them, the 29-year-old Thorpe and 26-year-old Trickett have won a total of eight Olympic gold medals, more than 20 world championship titles, 15 Commonwealth Games gold medals and broken 17 long course world records.
Tomorrow they will headline a 25-strong Australian Swim Team which will contest the two days of competition at the FINA World Cup in Singapore with heats from 0900hrs (1200hrs AST) and finals from 1800hrs (2100hrs AST) and both athletes are looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“I have to kind of remind myself that I’m the guy who hasn’t swum for five years,” said Thorpe.
“It’s my first time back in the pool and it’s not going to be easy, but it becomes an important step for what I’m looking to do next year and with that in mind this is kind of the starting point, and it is good that I finally have the opportunity to race.”
Having raced already this year, Trickett has a little bit better of an understanding about where her preparation is at the moment.
“Things have really started to snowball for me and I am starting to see times that I haven’t done since before Beijing,” said Trickett.
“I want to keep pushing the boundaries from where I have been and I’m really looking forward to seeing what my body can do over the next couple of days.”
Swimming Australia Head Coach Leigh Nugent said while this weekend’s return to international competition for Trickett and Thorpe is important, the meet is also a good opportunity for some of the younger athletes pushing for selection in the team next year.
“I think everyone is ready to race and that’s what they are all looking forward too,” said Nugent.
“For Ian and Libby the wait and anticipation has been building, but they are both very experienced athletes and they know that this meet is just the next step in their goal to perform for the team in London next year.”
“For our younger swimmers like Cameron McEvoy, Ellen Fullerton, Mikkayla Sheridan and Emma and David McKeon, the next two days are a great opportunity to experience open international competition and show they are ready to make that next step.”
Thorpe’s first race will be the 100m Individual Medley in the heats tomorrow, followed by the 100m butterfly on Saturday. Trickett will swim twice each day, competing in 50 and 100m freestyle and butterfly.
For full results of the FINA World Cup go to www.omegatiming.com
FINA/ARENA World Cup – Australian Teams
4-5 November – Singapore – Total 25
Matthew Abood, Tim Antalfy, Sam Ashby, Andrew Lauterstein, Cameron McEvoy, David McKeon, Kyle Richardson, Brenton Rickard, Christian Sprenger, Eamon Sullivan, Ian Thorpe, Chris Wright, Cate Campbell, Merindah Dingjan, Blair Evans, Ellen Fullerton, Rachel Goh, Olivia Halicek, Grace Loh, Emma McKeon, Kylie Palmer, Leiston Pickett, Jessicah Schipper, Mikkayla Sheridan, Libby Trickett
8-9 November – Beijing – Total 23
Tim Antalfy, Sam Ashby, Robert Hurley, Andrew Lauterstein, Kyle Richardson, Brenton Rickard, Christian Sprenger, Eamon Sullivan, Ian Thorpe, Chris Wright, Cate Campbell, Merindah Dingjan, Blair Evans, Ellen Fullerton, Rachel Goh, Olivia Halicek, Grace Loh, Emma McKeon, Kylie Palmer, Leiston Pickett, Jessicah Schipper, Mikkayla Sheridan, Libby Trickett
12-13 November – Tokyo – Total 18
Tim Antalfy, Sam Ashby, Robert Hurley, Andrew Lauterstein, Kyle Richardson, Brenton Rickard, Christian Sprenger, Eamon Sullivan, Ian Thorpe, Chris Wright, Cate Campbell, Merindah Dingjan, Blair Evans, Rachel Goh, Olivia Halicek, Grace Loh, Leiston Pickett, Libby Trickett