After Almost 8 Years of Retirement, Brent Hayden Hits Olympic “A” time


36-year old Canadian swimmer Brent Hayden hit his Olympic “A” time on Saturday in the 50 free, swimming a 21.97 to finish 3rd on Saturday at the Pro Swim Series meet in Des Moines.

Hayden, the Canadian Record holder in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles, swam his first race since returning to training in January, where he swam 22.34 in the 50 free. Then in February, in Vancouver, he swam a 22.31.

On Saturday, Hayden blew the doors open and slid under the Olympic “A” time of 22.01.

The time does not officially select Hayden for the Olympic Team. Unlike some countries, Canadian swimmers must hit the Olympic Qualifying Time and finish in the top 2 at the Canadian Olympic Trials to guarantee a spot on the Olympic Team. If nobody hits the “A” standard at the Canadian Swimming Trials in April, the top ranked swimmer who hits the Swimming Canada Olympic Nomination Time of 22.12 will earn an invite. Beyond that, the Swimming Canada High Performance Director has sole discretion to add swimmers who have FINA ‘A’ times where places are still available.

Hayden’s time is the best by a Canadian this year or last, ahead of Yuri Kisil’s 22.23 from the 2019 Canadian Olympic Trials. William Pisani was 22.30 at that meet, and both swimmers are over a decade younger than Hayden.

This 22.97 is the 4th-best time of Hayden’s career. In 2009, he swam 21.73 and 21.94, and in 2010 he swam 21.89.

Hayden also swam a 49.46 in a 100 free time trial on Friday.


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Don’t underestimate Hayden. He was the fastest *swimmer* in the water tonight. He got off the blocks like an elderly man getting out of bed and at 15m was like a body length behind Dressel, but then was only .46 behind him at the finish. 21.97…not bad for 8 years away from the sport. VERY reminiscent of Ervin’s story, even down to the start. Happy to see Caeleb giving the veteran respect at the end!

Awesome article Braden – minor correction, the last sentence says 22.97.


That is the best description of my dive I’ve ever read! Hahaha!!! Yeah I’ve always had slow dives for a sprinter…and believe it or not.. this is actually better than before. Got some ideas of what I can work on. Overall happy with the time and had a lot of fun racing those guys! Glad to be back!


Haha yeah honestly I’ve never seen ANYONE come back on Dressel in such a short distance. In fact, in ANY distance (with the lone exception of Chalmers in the 100FR). It’s a bold statement, but your raw freestyle speed might very well be the best in the world at the moment, which is quite something given your comeback circumstances. With some more training heading into the summer, good rest, and even a marginally better start, your wicked acceleration/momentum could take you further than anyone might suspect! You’re making waves Brent (literally and figuratively)


You add a second for daylight saving time.


HAHAHAHAHA!!! Love it!!!


minor error no.2 – Also says 2019 Olympic Trials….

Lane 8

Go Brent! Lookin’ real good!


Thank you!!!


Love to see you interact with the other swimmers once the race is over!


That’s one of the things I missed the most when I retired.
PS – I legit had to ask Dressel what my time was because I couldn’t read the board without my glasses.

Steve Hulford

That is hilarious. Congrats.

You must have picked up your dive from Ryan Cochrane

All the best this summer on your road to Tokyo!

Scott Morgan

WTG Brent!


Thx Scott!!!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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