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Thorpe fails to secure Olympic berth at trials

By Ian Ransom

ADELAIDE (Reuters) - Five-times Olympic champion Ian Thorpe failed to clinch an Olympic berth at this year's London Games when he crashed out of the preliminaries of the 100 meters freestyle at Australia's national swimming trials on Sunday.

Thorpe, who also failed to secure a 200 freestyle berth earlier in the trials, was 21st fastest to finish outside the top 16 that went through to the semi-finals in Adelaide.

Thorpe's time of 50.35 seconds was more than two seconds shy of pace-setter James Magnussen's 48.26, cutting his Olympic ambitions short after his comeback bid for London had entranced the Australian public and taken top billing at the trials.

"Thorpie's been someone I've always admired as a swimmer, so it is upsetting for him and the rest of us to do feel his pain," world champion Magnussen told reporters.

"It would have been great to have him there in London, it's disappointing that he's not going to be there, but all I can do now is focus on my race."

On Friday, Thorpe failed to reach the final of the 200 freestyle, a result that left the packed crowd at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre stunned and left the swimmer hugely disappointed.

After more than five years away from the pool, the 29-year-old Thorpe announced his return to the pool just over a year ago with the aim of qualifying for his third Olympics.

The 11-times world champion has struggled since returning to competition and repeatedly wrote off his chances in the leadup saying he had left his run too late.

(Editing by John O'Brien)