Oz coach says selection criteria can be amended to ensure Ian Thorpe`s presence at London Olympics

Melbourne: Australia`s head swim coach Leigh Nugent has said that he could amend selection criteria to ensure former Olympian star Ian Thorpe is on the flight to London to participate in the 2012 Olympics.

However, Nugent said that the tweaking may take place only if Thorpe falls just short of the top six qualifying standard at the Olympic trials this month.

While the selection criteria is usually non-negotiable, Nugent has the ability to seek board approval from Swimming Australia to change the rules if Thorpe misses the team by finishing seventh in either the 100m or 200m freestyle.

According to Fox Sports, this wouldn`t be the first time a change has been made.

Last year, the rules were altered to give Libby Trickett a chance to make the world titles team. In 2008, Felicity Galvez was selected for the Beijing Olympics after ending up seventh at the trials.

With a maximum of 12 relay-only swimmers permitted on the team, from the four freestyle relay events, there is no iron-clad guarantee for sixth-place finishers going to London.

"Ian will have to finish in line with our criteria to be considered like anyone else. We can always go to our board just like we did last year at world championships and ask them to vary the criteria. But when it comes to the Olympics you know this isn`t about giving people experience - we`ve got to take people who are going to do the job," said Nugent.


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