From One Legend to Another: Hackett Cites Phelps as Catalyst for Return to the Pool

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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

5 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
5 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Off topic: ESPN reports that Phelps has had conversations with Chuck Wielgus about getting reinstated on the 2015 Worlds team. Clary said he’d give up his 200 IM spot to Phelps – even if Lochte didn’t want to give up the 100 free / Phillips didn’t want to give up the 100 fly, it’d still be nice to have him on the roster for relays.


I will be surprised too if Hackett makes 200 final at the Australian trials.

Very nice news!! Great Hakett

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!