His athletic achievements made him one of Australia's most popular athletes, and he was recognised as the Young Australian of the Year in 2000.
Aside from 13 individual long-course world records, Thorpe anchored the Australian relay teams, numbering the victories in the 4 × 100 m and the 4 × 200 m freestyle relays in Sydney, among his five relay world records.
This is also the first time the franchise clinched consecutive playoff berths, and the first time it has won 10 or more games in consecutive seasons.
For the regular season opener at home, the Falcons faced the Eagles.
Australian swimmer who specialised in freestyle, but also competed in backstroke and the individual medley.
He has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian, and with three gold and two silver medals, was the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Frost knew that Thorpe had no realistic chance of making the top two in any event, which would have meant Olympic selection at only 13 years and six months.
Finishing the regular season 10–6, the Falcons clinched the #5 seed in the playoffs.
Thorpe qualified in second place in the heats of the 400 m individual medley and reached his first national final.
Thorpe went into the Australian Championships in Adelaide as a serious contender for selection in the national team for the 1997 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
With a top-three finish and a specific qualifying time required for selection, Thorpe focused on the 400 m freestyle after injuries to world record holder Kieren Perkins and Daniel Kowalski; both had won Olympic medals in the event.
Thorpe went on to win bronze behind 16-year-old Queenslander Grant Hackett, setting a new personal best of 3 min 53.44 s.
The win improved the team to 1–1 and also helped Starting QB Matt Ryan improve to 4–0 as a regular season starter during home openers.