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Thorpe Set For L/C Return In Italy

Nov 22, 2011  - Craig Lord

News Round-Up:

Italy: Ian Thorpe will make his return to long-course competition at the Riccione meet December 16-17. The last time Thorpe, of Australia, raced in an Olympic-sized pool in international waters was when he lifted the 200m and 400m freestyle crowns at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The Italian meet will be the next step in Thorpe's preparations for a shot at making the Aussie team for London 2012 at trials in March, coach Gennadi Touretski having set his Switzerland-based pupil and target of about five meets before he races for a place in the shoal of Olympic Dolphins once more. In wait for Thorpe will be Italians Filippo Magnini, Luca Dotto and Marco Orsi. The last time Thorpe raced in Italy, Stefano Arcobelli notes in the Gazzetta dello Sport this morning, was at the Seven Hills meet in Rome, 2001, on his way to six gold medals at the world titles in Fukuoka later that year (200m, 400m, 800m free, all three relays at a meet that saw Australia defeat the USA for the top of the medals table). Back then, one of Thorpe's contemporaries was Massimiliano Rosolino, an Italian with an Australian mother who spent time Down Under in the wake of the post-Sydney 2000 CONI scandal. Rosolino, seeking a fifth Games selection next year for Italy, told Gazzetta that he did not think we would ever see Thorpe back at the top of the podium: "I do not think he can return to compete with the best, given also the recent performances of athletes such as fellow Australian [James] Magnussen." 

Cielo's European Mission: Cesar Cielo, Olympic and world 50m free champion, will next test himself in Rio de Janeiro in home waters in Brazil from December 14-18 but it is his plans for spring 2012 that may cause a few eyebrows to raise: Italian media report today that the Brazilian sprint emperor with the most famous of Italian names wants to test himself against Europe's best at the European Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, next May on the way to London 2012. May be a special test event will be staged but the championships themselves are open only to swimmers not only affiliated to LEN but able to show a passport that confirms then as a citizen of a country affiliated to LEN under the European swimming league's rules.

Zagreb, Croatia: Short-Course results at a glance: Men - 50 free: Takacs (HUN) 22.11; 100 free Grechin (RUS) 47.82; 200 free Lagunov (RUS) 1:46.06; 400 free: David Verraszto (HUN) 3:47.19; 50-100 back: Bal (USA) 24.45, 52.07; 200 butterfly: Jukic (AUT) 1:53.66; 100-200m medley: Jukic 54.21, 1:57.05. Women: 200m free and medley: Verraszto (HUN) 1:56.54 and  2:11.30; 400m free Klinjar (SLO) 4:06.76; 50 'fly: Alijand (EST) 25.81.

Hunedoara, Romania: Short-course results at a glance: Women: 800m free: Potec (ROM) 8:31.58. 

Madrid Open, Spain: Short-course results at a glance: Men: Czerniak (POL) won the 50 and 100 free, and the 50 and 100 'fly: 22.00, 48.02, 23.53, 51.45. Women: Jedrejczak (POL) won the 200m free in 1:59.08, the 200 back in 2:12.73, the 200m 'fly in 2:10.61 and the 400m medley in 4:42.00.