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 Mondays 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 years Manchester Commonwealth Games.
The 20-year-old was nevertheless full of praise for Menzies.
I dont think anythings reflected on my change in coach or anything else. Nothing negative, Thorpe said after his 200m win.
Its all been positive. I look at what Ive done in my preparation and the reason why Im disappointed with the way that Ive swum is because Ive had such good preparation.
Despite his disappointment, Thorpes 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 Saturdays 400m freestyle final has never been bettered by any other swimmer and Mondays 200m effort would have equalled Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenbands gold medal effort at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. AFP