Born on May 9, 1980 at Southport on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, Grant Hackett is the son of a policeman.
Hackett first came on to the National Scene at the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships winning the 1500M freestyle as a 17 year old. He also beat Ian Thorpe, his countrymate, in the 400M Free, the only time Hackett won an International battle over Thorpe.
At the 1998 World Championships, Hackett again won the 1500M Free, but lost to Thorpe in the 400M free. Those two combined with Michael Klim and Daniel Kowalski to win the 4X200M free relay. Beginning a streak of winning the even over the US for six years.
From 1997-2007, ten full years, Hackett was unbeaten in the 1500M free, winning every major competition: World Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, Commonwealth and Australian Games and the Olympics.
Hackett broke his first world record in 1999 in the 200M free while leading off a relay. That same year, Ian Thorpe broke Hackett’s record.
2000 Summer Olympics
Although Hackett was the overwhelming favorite in the 1500M Free, Hackett fell ill during the Games and struggled to qualify for the finals. He was dropped from the 4X200M free relay having swum a very slow split during the heats. Even though the Olympics were in his home country, The Australia crowd cheered for his teammate instead, Kieran Perkins, but Hackett, who was feeling better by now, decided to attack the race and lead from the start. He held on for his first gold medal.
2001 World Championships
At the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Hackett took second behind countryman Ian Thorpe in the 400M and 800M freestyles. The relay team of Hackett, Thorpe, Klim, and Kirby set a new World Record in the 4x200M Free Relay. In the 1500M free, Hackett broke the World Record, formally held by Kieran Perkins, by seven seconds to win Gold.
2003 World Championships
At the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, Hackett won won 3 Gold, 800M Free, 1500M Free and 4x200M Free Relay, 1 silver, 400M Free, and 1 Bronze Medal, 200M Free.
Hackett again won Gold in his signature event, the 1500M Free. However after performing subpar in his other events, it was revealed after the Olympics that Hackett had been swimming with a partially collapsed lung.
2005 World Championships
In 2005, Hackett was rewarded by being named Captain for Team Australia. He won gold medals in the 400M, 800M and 1500M freestyle, and silver in the 200M freestyle. Hackett was the first person to ever achieve this feat. As well as the only swimmer to medal in four distances in a single world championships. His victory in the 800 m event broke Thorpe’s world record, and his 1500 m victory saw him become the first to win an event four times at a World Championships. He anchored the 4X200M Free Relay team to bronze with a split of 1:44.84, making him the second fastest performer in relay splits. He was named as FINA’s Male swimmer of the meet.
In November 2005, Hackett announced his withdrawal from the 2006 Commonwealth Games due to being unavailable for the selection trials because of a minor surgery to correct a shoulder injury. However, he was given dispensation to act as a non-competing captain in order to mentor the fellow swimmers in the lead-up to the competition.
2007 World Championships
He qualified last in the 400 m event, but led in the final before fading in the last lap to take the bronze medal. He qualified fifth in the 800 m event, but finished seventh, more than ten seconds behind the winner. In the 1500 m final Hackett came seventh, ending his decade long unbeaten streak in the event.
Open water Swimming
In December 2007, Hackett competed in and won his first National Championship 10 km Open Water race. Hackett qualified for the World Championships in Seville, Spain. However, Hackett failed to finish in the top 10 in this event, and therefore missed out on qualifying for the 10 km open water swim at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
He swam the 400m and 1500m freestyle and the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay. In the 1500m he finished second, winning the silver medal. Hackett then retired.
After six and half years since racing a major competition and after six months of training under his belt, Hackett competed at the Australian Championships, Hackett finished fourth in the 200m freestyle, qualifying for the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay for the 2015 World Aquatics Championships. He also won a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle.
2015 World Aquatics Championships
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, he won a bronze medal for swimming in the heats of the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay, thereby winning his first international medal since the 2008 Olympics.
Hackett failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics.