More World Records
At the Australian Open Championships at Hobart in 2001, Thorpe set new world records in the 200-meter and 800-meter freestyle and won national titles in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle. The four-race sweep had not been accomplished nationally since John Konrads accomplished the feat in 1959.
At the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Thorpe claimed six medals, and set three world records. His performances sparked rumors of hall of fame glory when he logged 1:44:06 minutes for the 200-meter freestyle, 3:40:17 in the 400-meter, and 7:39:16 in the 800-meter race. As Craig Lord wrote in Swimming World, "It is not so much the victory by which he is measured, but, instead, it is the margin of victory as this momentum-gaining Torpedo fires ten years ahead of his time!"
For the fourth time, in 2002 Thorpe broke his own world record in the 400-meter freestyle event, shaving.09 seconds from his 2001 record, to log a new time of 3:40:08. He added eleven gold medals to his collection that season, taking six golds at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and an additional five at the Pan Pacific Games in Yokohama, Japan.
Amid a flurry of rumors, beginning in August of 2002, Thorpe announced plans to move to Europe, to train for the Athens Olympics in 2004. He confirmed also an amicable split from Frost, his personal coach, after a dozen years of resounding victories. Frost had brought the swimmer to seventeen world records and three Olympic gold medals during their one dozen years together as a coach-athlete team.
Thorpe announced further his intention to continue in training with Frost's assistant, Tracey Menzies, as his head coach. Menzies, who was named Rookie Coach of the Year in 2000, brought no other coaching credentials to the new job, leaving observers to question the validity of the coaching change after so much success with Frost. Australian champion Dawn Fraser, among others, expressed concern in particular over the unproven record of Menzies and suggested that Thorpe might have erred in judgment. Thorpe acknowledged the difficulty of making such a drastic decision. Regardless, he asserted a personal need for a change, citing an ebb of passion, and stated that he might retire from competitive swimming rather than continue to train with Frost. "I either had to make the change or walk away … I was not enjoying myself," he said and was quoted on Swim Line on the World Wide Web.