Olympic and world champion Ian Thorpe will miss this year's Montreal world championships as part of his long-term preparation for the Beijing Games.
Thorpe has won three successive world titles at 400m freestyle
The Australian plans to take the season off to recuperate after years of hard racing, his coach Tracey Menzies said.
"Ian won't be standing up to race for world titles, which is going to be hard for the Australian team," said Menzies.
"But it's something he needs to do in preparation for Beijing - it has been good that he has had a bit of a break."
Menzies admitted that Thorpe would face a tough task to return to peak condition after such a long spell out.
"It is definitely going to being a hard path for him to get himself back in shape, but it's not something I would do if I didn't think he wasn't capable of coming back," she said.
Thorpe has been doing some training, but his fitness levels are believed to have dropped considerably since Athens.