Swimming: Thorpe denies reports of preferential funding

Ian Thorpe speaks to the media during an Australian Swimming Championships press conference. Photo / Getty Imahges
Ian Thorpe speaks to the media during an Australian Swimming Championships press conference. Photo / Getty Imahges

Ian Thorpe has denied he's received preferential funding treatment from Swimming Australia on the eve of his comeback to the sport.

Thorpe fronted the media in Adelaide this morning ahead of his attempt to win a spot on Australia's team for the London Games at the trials starting on Thursday.

Reports this week suggested some Australian swimmers were unhappy over the money SA was spending to help fund the comebacks of the likes of veterans Thorpe, Libby Trickett and Michael Klim.

Thorpe was immediately asked about his funding situation today and stressed he had only received support for his training and preparations, although he acknowledged those costs were probably higher than most as he'd been based overseas.

"I haven't been paid a cent. I think it's been clarified by a number of people.

What's been reported isn't factual,'' Thorpe said.

"There's been a number of athletes who have been supported by Swimming Australia, the funding that's come from that is not dissimilar to what's been provided (to me).

"I think it's fantastic that I've been able to return to the sport and have received the support that I have from Swimming Australia.

"And for the benefit of the athletes that are here, I'm happy to talk about this honestly to know that there hasn't been preferential treatment.''

Pressed on the question of some swimmers receiving more than others, Thorpe said that was not for him to decide.

"... It's not for me to decide on funding. I look at the struggles athletes have had in all the sports across Australia.

"I know what I've had to do to prepare and I know different athletes have different situation that need to be addressed.

"We're not all cookie cutter athletes and if we were we'd have a pretty average swim team.

"I'm grateful for the support I've had.''

Thorpe said he would not let the speculation distract him ahead of starting his campaign with the 200m freestyle heats on Friday.

"Distractions like this, for athletes are a very good learning experience because something like this pops up before every competition,'' Thorpe said.

The 29-year-old denied he had been `foxing' in a string of disappointing showings since returning to competition last year but was confident heading into the meet.

"I've been asked this by friends as well.

"There may have been a period when I first stared back, when I was hoping I might be able to do it (foxing). Frankly, no.

"I'm probably as confident as I've been in my preparation.''

-AAP

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