Brent Hayden: How Being Assaulted by Police at 2004 Olympics Jumpstarted Career

On SwimSwam Podcast, we’re giving you an in-depth listen at all things swimming. Host Coleman Hodges welcomes guests and guest co-hosts alike to get perspective on our ever-changing swimming universe and break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with Olympic medalist and world champ Brent Hayden. Brent discussed that while he is commonly perceived as intimidating, that typically dissipates when he opens his mouth. Brent is, in a word, a sweetheart. He’s incredibly intelligent and finds solace in photography, of which he’s had numerous shows (you can see his work here).

What you may not know about Brent is that at his first Olympics in 2004, after already performing poorly by his standards, he was mistaken for a rioter in the streets of Athens and assaulted by numerous policemen, resulting in an elbow injury which kept him out of the short course world championships the following autumn. However, this entire Olympic experience did give Hayden the motivation he needed to really commit, and push himself to new heights in the pool, including his world championship title in 2007.

Hayden (who has been making a comeback since 2019, something you can listen to more of here), is now putting his efforts in, his own freestyle master course, taught by him. During these classes, Hayden teaches you all of the tricks to having a world-class freestyle.

Music: Otis McDonald


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He’s not black doesn’t fit the narrative, move along

He Said What?

This was ATHENS, GREECE……Sixteen years ago…….in ATHENS, GREECE, not Athens, Georgia in 2020. Different country. Different time. Different everything. Read the article more carefully.


In fact the stories from the police behavior in Athens 2004 are crazy!! I have teammates who also got in similar situations after a night out.


What is Brent Hayden’s ethnicity?

Brent Hayden

Northern Swedish (mothers side) and a mix of English, Irish and Scottish (father’s side).

Not Brent Hayden

So, white.


How would *you* know? You’re just a random person in the internet.. /s

Brent Hayden

Because I am Brent. I did an ancestry DNA test earlier this year. Also to the “Not Brent Hayden” person, obviously…just look at my picture. My children will not be white though as my wife is mostly Lebanese, with some Syrian, and Armenian.


Nothing about this guy is impressive other than his 50 free time lol. He has been spoon fed through a broken Canadian system that doesn’t support up and coming athletes. He has been open on canadian news networks that he doesn’t even want to swim next year becaue of his back issues. Maybe Canada should focus on developing athletes that have 10+ years of sport left instead of people that just want make a few extra bucks cause they can. Next story


Not sure why you always going to assume the worst of athletes and make baseless claims that they’re only in it “for the money.” Maybe consider for a second that Hayden came back because of a passion for the sport? So that he could end off without saying “what if?”

B1G Daddy

Can you imagine the work involved to swim an Olympic A time two weeks after coming back from seven years out of the sport? Here’s the thing: SSS wants to be the judge of what is an appropriate reason to participate in the sport. The ego involved is outrageous. Here’s the deal: If someone thinks Canada should invest in younger swimmers, those swimmers should beat this old man who was out for seven years and still struggles with injuries.

B1G Daddy

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I’m not going to give you a hard time for having an absolutely terrible one here.


“Canada should focus on athletes that have 10+ years of sport left” who can’t even beat a 36 year old man?? lmaoooo

B1G Daddy

Gooba gets it.


Is a 47.2 100 free not impressive?

Ol' Longhorn

I’m guessing you’re one of the guys he crushed in the 50 free this year. Gotta suck for you that he came out of retirement.

John H

Perhaps you need to change your tag line to SwimSwamSUNK.

I see that that the broken Canadian system you refer to produced Kylie Masse who set the world record in 100 Back, Penny Oleksiak, who was a 4 time Olympic medalist at 16, sharing an Olympic Record with Simone Manuel, and more recently Maggie MacNeil who is the 100 Fly world champion after beating the reigning champ Sarah Sojostrom.

As my Father use to say, if you don’t have something nice or positive to say, then don’t say anything.

Way to go Brent, we are all behind you in your return to the sport.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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