Thorpe`s meet ends early after missing out on

Singapore: Australia`s most successful Olympian Ian Thorpe had his first swimming meet back after a five-year absence end prematurely on Saturday when he failed to qualify for the finals of the 100 meters butterfly in a World Cup race in Singapore.

Thorpe, winner of five Olympic golds finished third in his heat with a time of 54.09 to rank 11th overall and outside the top eight qualifiers for the finals later on Saturday.

"It has been really good for me," Thorpe told reporters.

"I came here expecting to get absolutely hammered in races and I knew it was going to happen and anyone who didn`t think that was going to happen didn`t have this in perspective."

Kenya`s Jason Dunford was the fastest qualifier with a time of 51.50 seconds.

Thorpe was quick out of the blocks but lost ground in the second and third legs of the short course race with Australian team mate Chris Wright winning the heat with a time of 52.09.

It was the second day back in competition for Thorpe, who finished seventh in the final of the 100m individual medley on Friday in Singapore.

Although the butterfly and individual medley are unfamiliar races for the lanky Sydney-born swimmer he would have been disappointed by the performances shown in his highly-anticipated return to competition.

Thorpe, who will attempt to make the Australian Olympic team at the trials in Adelaide in March, next heads to Beijing and Tokyo for two more World Cup meetings.

Bureau Report

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