On Friday, former Australian superstars Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim, both on the long comeback trail and vying for Olympic spots, will meet head-to-head for the first time in nearly half-a-decade at the 2012 Victorian Open State Championships.
Their only common entry is in the 100 free, which is the primary event in which both are trying to earn their way onto the squad for London this summer. It seems unlikely that both will earn relay spots (though not impossible), so this race will be an important checkpoint for their pair.
Also in the race will be 17-year old Cameron McEvoy, who is another swimmer who sits in the 4-8 bubble for Olympic spots in the 100 free.
Klim will add the 50 free, and as promised will give the 100 fly a go as well. Besides being a sign that the shoulder problems that forced his first retirement are not bothering him, he actually has a chance at making the Olympic squad in the event. Huegill seems like about a lock for one spot, but the #2-ranked Australian in 2011 was Sam Ashby at 52.19. A reminder of what Klim is capable of is that his Victorian Record from all the way back in 2000 still stands at 51.81 (still the best time of his career),
Matt Targett is a potential contender in the 100 fly based on his 50 times from last year, but right now it doesn’t look like he wants to swim it. He’s entered in this meet, but is participating in the 50/100 frees and the 50 fly over the three-day meet.
Thorpe will add to his 100 free an old friend, the 200 free, that we also saw him swim at his last meet in Italy. That, however, was a timed-finals meet. In Melbourne this weekend, however, I will be interested in seeing him making a final and putting together a complete, two-round performance in either event. That’s what he’s going to have to do to make it out of a deep Australian field.
Thorpe: 100 free (17th); 200 free (13th)
Klim: 50 free (11th); 100 free (50.44); 100 fly (8th)