Thorpe refuses to blame his coach

SYDNEY: Ian Thorpe has refused to blame new coach Tracey Menzies for what he calls below-par times at the Australian Swimming Championships. 

The 20-year old multi-world record holder, who split from long-time mentor Doug Frost six months ago, swam outside his world record-breaking best in the 200m and 400m freestyle at the Sydney meet. 

He clocked 1:45.35 to win Monday’s 200m from arch-rival Grant Hackett – more than a second off his world record of 1:44.06 at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka. 

And on the opening night of competition, he won the 400m gold from Hackett, but was 2.33 seconds off the world record he set during last year’s Manchester Commonwealth Games. 

The 20-year-old was nevertheless full of praise for Menzies. 

“I don’t think anything’s reflected on my change in coach or anything else. Nothing negative,” Thorpe said after his 200m win. 

“It’s all been positive. I look at what I’ve done in my preparation and the reason why I’m disappointed with the way that I’ve swum is because I’ve had such good preparation.” 

Despite his disappointment, Thorpe’s times were still world class, albeit below what everyone has come to expect of the swimming marvel. 

His winning time of 3:42.41 in Saturday’s 400m freestyle final has never been bettered by any other swimmer and Monday’s 200m effort would have equalled Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband’s gold medal effort at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. – AFP 

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