Ian Thorpe’s coach guides Olympic hopefuls

Ian Thorpe’s former coach has been tasked with guiding Australia’s next generation of Olympic swimming stars.


Tracey Menzies coached the Thorpedo to six gold medals, and now she’s responsible for the eight swimmers selected to represent Australia at the Youth Olympics, which begin on August 16 in Nanjing, China.

Held every four years for athletes aged between 15 and 18, the event features 28 sports including athletics, diving, tennis, and fencing.

A team of 89 Aussies will compete across 23 sports, which for the first time includes rugby sevens before the sport makes its full Olympic debut in Rio 2016.

Nanjing looks to be the perfect opportunity for up and coming swimmers to make their presence known and return Australian swimming to the heights it once reached with Thorpe.

The 31-year-old has struggled with personal demons since he retired from professional swimming in 2012.

Earlier this year he was admitted to a rehabilitation facility to receive treatment for his ongoing battle with depression.

He recently revealed he is gay after years of dismissing speculation about his sexuality.

Before she became his coach in 2002, 29-year-old Menzies was relatively unknown outside swimming circles when she took over from Doug Frost.

Then 19, Thorpe had considered retiring after losing enthusiasm for the sport but instead switched coaches.

Menzies is credited with helping him become the first man to win a medal in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events at a single Olympic Games in Athens.

With her eye on the future, the experienced trainer says the Youth Olympics will be invaluable not only for her charges but Australian swimming.

“I believe this is a great opportunity to show these young champions what lies ahead and it may be the thing that inspires some of our athletes to be on the 2016 Olympic team,” she said.

“What I would like to take away from these Games is a better understanding of what we as a sport and nation need to do to help these athletes step up for 2016.”

The Youth Olympic team will depart Australia for China on August 13 under the guidance of another talented swimmer, chef de mission Susie O’Neil.

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