Ian Thorpe ready for swimming return


SYDNEY -- Five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe returned to Australia on Wednesday after 10 days of high-altitude training in Switzerland, saying he's "starting to look like a swimmer again."

The 28-year-old Thorpe, targeting a place on the Australian team for next year's London Olympics after announcing his comeback in February, plans to meet with coach Leigh Nugent before returning to his Switzerland base at the end of the week.

A fit-looking Thorpe said he was "satisfied ... I'm content where I'm at but I have a lot to do."

Thorpe said he will concentrate on the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events and drop the 400, an event in which he once held the world record.

"I honestly don't think I'd have enough time to do anything for the 400," Thorpe said.

The 200 could put him up against American star Michael Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.

Thorpe and Phelps last met in the event dubbed the "Race of the Century," the 200 freestyle final at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Thorpe won, Dutch swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband was second and Phelps was third. But that was well before Phelps established himself as the most prolific race winner and record holder since Thorpe.

Thorpe, training under Russian coach Gennadi Touretski, is expected to make his competitive return at a World Cup series meet in Singapore in November. An appearance at December's Queensland state titles is likely to be his first race in Australia.

Thorpe confirmed in February he has registered for drug testing in order to be eligible to compete in the Australian Olympic selection trials in March 2012.

He retired in November 2006 after setting 13 world records and winning 11 world championship golds. He won both the 200 and 400 free at the 2004 Athens Olympics in his last major international meet.