Ian Thorpe is convinced after six months back in training that he can become a faster swimmer than he used to be.
The five-time Olympic gold medallist is targeting a spot on Australia’s team for next year’s London Games after retiring from the sport in 2006.
The 28-year-old announced his comeback last month after returning to training in September.
And Thorpe says he’s now proved to himself he is capable of returning to the level that saw him dominate the sport and break 13 long-course world records between 1999 and 2002.
“My overall goal in what I’m doing now is to be better than what I used to be, that’s it,” Thorpe said on a visit to Adidas headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.
“When I started swimming again I wasn’t going to continue unless I thought I could be (better).
“And after a few months I’m confident that I can be better and faster than I used to be able to swim.
“Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get up early in the morning and I wouldn’t be able to do the training.
“But that’s the lure that motivates me to be able to go through all of the hard work.”
Thorpe won Olympic gold in the 200m and 400m freestyle and won a world title at 800m.
But he has his focus firmly set on the 100m and 200m individual and relay freestyle events in his comeback.
“I actually think that I am better suited to those events,” Thorpe said.
“Also, in the time frame that I have, it would have been almost impossible to do the training for the 400 in the lead up to the Games.
“I just didn’t have enough time to go through cycles.”
Thorpe is training under revered coach Gennadi Touretski in Germany and will also spend time in Abu Dhabi and Australia in the build up to the next year’s Games.
He is ineligible to compete at the national titles, starting in Sydney on Friday, and this year’s world championships in China.