Veteran swimmer Brent Hayden is the latest member of the Toronto Titans to call off the remainder of his International Swimming League season with an injury.
The 38-year old Hayden raced in one relay in the Titans’ playoff opener on November 13-14, anchoring the team’s top men’s 400 free relay in a split of 47.06 (their fastest).
Ahead of last week’s match, however, he Tweeted that back spasms would prevent him from competing.
On Thursday, Hayden Tweeted that he was “officially calling an end to (his) season” because of the back spasms, saying that there was no way he would be able to race in 2 days.
“Although my ISL season has been a huge personal dissapointment, I am so proud of what our team has achieved.
“When I get home I will take a break to reflect on the last 2 years of this comeback, while also doing what I need to heal my body.”
Hayden says that he’s looking forward to spending time with his wife and family, and working on his photography.
Officially calling an end to my season. After 7 days of spasm (and who knows how many more) there is no way I will be able to race in 2 days. Although my ISL season has been a huge personal dissapointment, I am so proud of what our team has achieved. @TorontoTitansSC
— Brent Hayden OLY (@thebrenthayden) November 25, 2021
The Titans are already without Jay Lelliott and Blake Pieroni for the playoffs due to injuries, and backstroker Cole Pratt missed their playoff opener two weeks ago with a knock as well (though he returned last week for a limited two race schedule).
The lack of Hayden for the finale, even in a limited relay capacity, dramatically damages their already-steep chance at making the top 4 that advance to the final, even after ranking 4th in the regular season.
Hayden ranked 190th in the regular season in MVP scoring, averaging just over 8 points per match. In Match #9, which was Toronto’s regular season finale, he swam 21.50 in the 50 free, which is just .16 seconds slower than his personal best time.
He was injured during the team’s regular season opener too, which led to a no-start, and big penalty points, for a Toronto relay. He also cited back problems during the Canadian Olympic Trials earlier this year.
Hayden represented Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer, where he tied for 9th place in the men’s 50 free. He also swam a leg of Canada’s 400 free relay that placed 4th. On a leadoff leg of that relay, he became the oldest man, by at least five years, to go under 48 seconds in the 100 free in long course.
Hayden made a return to competitive swimming in January 2020 after more than 7 years away from the sport. In his last meet before the pandemic began to shut down competition, the 2020 Pro Swim Series meet in Des Moines, Iowa, Hayden swam 21.97 in the 50 free, which gave him the FINA Olympic “A” qualifying standard.