Five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe's bid to compete at the London Games suffered a major blow on Friday when he failed to make the final of the 200 metres freestyle at Australia's national swimming trials in Adelaide.
Thorpe, who will also compete in the 100 freestyle at the weekend, finished 12th fastest of the semi-finalists in one minute 49.91 seconds, outside the top eight that will contest Saturday's final at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
The 29-year-old, who came out of retirement last year in a bid to qualify for London 2012, said he was "terribly disappointed with that ... I thought I could and thought I would swim a lot quicker - much quicker".
He added: "The fairytale has turned into a nightmare."
Thorpe who won a total of five golds at the Sydney and Athens Olympics, has struggled to reproduce anywhere near the times he swam in his prime with a string of disappointing results since his comeback in Singapore in November.
He formerly held the world record in the 200m freestyle at 1:44.06, which remains the Australian record.