Sydney - Five-time gold medalist Ian Thorpe says he expects to fail in his attempt to make the Australian Olympic team for London 2012, admitting he may have left his return to competitive swimming too late.
Thorpe, a week out from the Australian trials which will determine whether he qualifies for London, told Australia's Network Ten that he doesn't have high expectations of making the team after modest results in leadup events.
"The most realistic outcome of this is that I will most likely fail ... I wish I had another six months to do this," he said in the television interview.
The 29-year-old Thorpe, who retired in November 2006 after setting 13 world records and winning 11 world championships gold medals, announced a comeback to competitive swimming nearly a year ago.
He won 200- and 400-metre freestyle golds at the 2004 Athens Olympics in his last major international meet.
In his first meets back from retirement, Thorpe struggled at short-course (25-metre pool) World Cup meets in Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo in November. That form was repeated in subsequent Olympic-distance races in Australia and Europe in the last three months.
"All of the expectation, that desire to see me do well, it exists for me in a way that it doesn't exist for other people," Thorpe said.
He will contest the 100- and 200-metre freestyle events at the Australian trials in Adelaide starting March 15.
His most likely path to the games team is a top-six finish in the 200 metres, which could get him into the Australian 4x200-metre relay team for London.
"I wish I had another six months to do this," said Thorpe, who flew into Australia this week after a training camp in Switzerland. "I wish I had more time to do it.
"I have to be swimming well. I have to be swimming fast as well in both of my races."