Over the past several months, Australia’s great distance swimmer, Grant Hackett, has been making the move from “retired” swimmer to that of an athlete on a potential comeback kick. The two-time 1500m Olympic champion tells The Australian that his recent plans for the pool did not originally include a return to actual racing, acknowledging that he is now 34 years of age and six years removed from competitive swimming.
“This is the last time that my body will be young enough to do this,” Hackett says. He continues that “I am not getting ahead of myself in any way. If I can’t get to a level that I find satisfactory I will shut up shop.” As of January of this year, Hackett has been in full training with his former coach Denis Cotterell at the Miami Swim Club on the Gold Coast. In the article, Cotterell indicates “Hackett has been holding his own with his elite squad, which includes current world No 1-ranked 200m freestyler Tom Fraser-Holmes.”
Hackett also divulges that it was actually another swimming legend who prompted his thoughts of a return to the competitive swim life. In a conversation with the 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps at the Pan-Pacific Championships last August, Phelps told Hackett, “You should swim again.” Hackett cites this as the catalyst that got him thinking about taking the proverbial plunge back into formal training.
In terms of what the short-term plans are for Hackett, he is quoted as saying, “I have been letting it come to me rather than planning it all out, which is the opposite of what I used to do.” He did make it clear that a 1500m race is not in his near future, turning his sights instead to contests in the realm of the 200m or 400m distance, of which he says, “If I made a 200m final…I would be surprised. I just want to enjoy the experience.”
Hackett will get his chance on March 14th in Brisbane as he attempts to set the qualifying times necessary to compete at the national championships in Sydney in April.