Olympic gold medal winner Kieren Perkins has warned swimmer Ian Thorpe of travelling too much as a challenge in his preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

38-year-old Perkins has also criticised Australia’s swimming administrators for poorly managing the careers of their swimmers due to the high drop-out of elite athletes.

”I think what we see with the comebacks is that swimming as a sport is very deficient in managing older athletes,” Perkins told The Age.

”We push our kids very early, very hard, for a very long time and when they start to get a bit of age and a little bit of free will, the first and most obvious thing you want to do is get away.

”It’s not a physical impediment, it’s an emotional one … I’ve never seen a real medical reason why they can’t keep going and, if anything, conventional wisdom says that for blokes especially, it’s in your early- to mid-30s when you really hit your physical peak.”

”I think, at this point, you’d have to say he’s obviously got some challenges ahead of him,” said the three-time Olympian.

”I think it’s more that recognition that with the training and racing schedule he’s undertaking, he’s putting himself under a lot of physical pressure.”