Fight­ing swim­mer’s block

Com­ing back to swim­ming has not been an easy task for Ian Thorpe and he out­lines some of the pain in a new doc­u­men­tary writes

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AN Thorpe, Aus­tralia’s most suc­cess­ful Olympian, is cur­rently train­ing at his Swiss base, in prepa­ra­tion for next year’s World Cham­pi­onships in Barcelona.

Barely sighted since fail­ing to qual­ify in March for the Lon­don Olympics, Thorpe has re­turned to the pool and train­ing un­der Rus­sian-born coach Gen­nadi Touret­ski.

A friend of Thorpe’s con­firmed he was train­ing to com­pete at next year’s World Cham­pi­onships.

‘‘That’s the plan and it’s all sys­tems go,’’ the friend said, stat­ing Thorpe was also ‘‘eye­ing off’’ the 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games in Glas­gow.

In a new doc­u­men­tary de­tail­ing Thorpe’s 18-month bid to make it to the Lon­don Olympics as part of the Aus­tralian swim­ming team, the cham­pion swim­mer said he suf­fered from pe­ri­ods of ‘‘de­pres­sion’’ and ‘‘anx­i­ety’’ dur­ing his come­back bid.

‘‘I can’t breathe – it’s like I’m drown­ing,’’ he said of the pres­sure he felt just eight weeks prior to the Olympic tri­als in Ade­laide last March.

Thorpe says he saw a phys­i­ol­o­gist to over­come his ‘‘fear of be­ing suc­cess­ful, but be­ing mis­er­able in my sport’’.

Thorpe also re­vealed the dark days in 2010, when he was forced to con­firm his fi­nan­cial em­pire was in ruin.

Fol­low­ing the re­al­i­sa­tion he had not se­cured a place on the Aus­tralian team, a clearly de­jected Thorpe said: ‘‘It’s tough to com­pre­hend. I worked so hard to do this, I haven’t re­ally thought about what to do now, I didn’t plan for this.’’

Thorpe is expected to ap­pear as a com­men­ta­tor at this month’s Olympics, though he is expected to be work­ing for a British broad­caster and not lo­cal rights hold­ers Chan­nel Nine and Fox­tel.

Thorpe is also set to re­lease his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy later this year.

Sun­day, 7.30pm, ABC1.

Ian Thorpe is in train­ing to continue his come­back.

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