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Geoff Huegill believes Ian Thorpe could extend his comeback to swimming beyond next year’s London Olympics.
Thorpe, who is set to return to competitive racing in September, is aiming to win a spot on the Australian team for London but has never indicated he plans to continue beyond the event.
But Huegill, who has successfully made a comeback of his own, believes the fact Thorpe is only 28 means he could target the 2014 world championships in Barcelona and even the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“I know he hasn’t got back to the racing part of the sport yet, but it’s the racing part that creates the excitement and that’s why you put all the hard work in,” Huegill said as he prepared for the world championships in Shanghai.
“In my opinion, it would be a shame to see him put in all this hard work and not enjoy it as much as he can.
“One of the best things he’s got on his side is his age.
“He can still go on for another four or five years and fingers crossed his preparation between now and leading into next year is going to be really good and hopefully he won’t decide to hang up the togs and wants to keep going.”
Huegill faces the biggest test of his comeback in Shanghai, and said he could not wait to see how he fared against a world-class field spearheaded by American superstar Michael Phelps.
The 32-year-old believes he is travelling better than he was before winning gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
“I know if I’m going to come away with a medal next year then I’ve really got to do well this year,” he said.
“I’m going to draw on the confidence I’ve had over the last few months with this preparation.
“I’ve been lifting heavier weights than I was before Delhi, I’ve been swimming faster times than I was before Delhi and I’ve been keeping myself fit and injury and illness-free.”