Hackett Clocks Solid 400m Freestyle Effort at Queensland Qualifying Meet

Australian distance swimming great, Grant Hackett, has completed his first official swim since coming out of retirement late last year.  Today, the 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist began his competitive swimming return at the Medal Shots Queensland Long Course Qualifying meet at the Brisbane Aquatic Center.

Meet Site
Full Meet Results

Hackett kicked off his three-event meet program with a solid time of 3:55.68 in the Men’s Open 400m freestyle to win the event.  Hackett’s clocking is a very respectable outing for the 34-year-old, whose time now positions him as 42nd in the world rankings.  Also in the field in the race were George O’Brien (3:57.57), Yasunari Hirai (4:00.05) and Cameron McEvoy (4:01.45).  Training partner Thomas Fraser-Holmes was on the psych sheet, but did not swim the event.  Below are the splits for Hackett’s 400m swim (timed final):

r:+0.70  26.30        55.70 (29.40)
1:25.76 (30.06)     1:56.22 (30.46)
2:26.58 (30.36)     2:56.83 (30.25)
3:26.51 (29.68)     3:55.68 (29.17)

Prior to the meet, Hackett’s coach, Denis Cotterell, told The Courier Mail that Hackett “might ignore the pain in a race or be a little more human and thing it’s hurting and not be able to respond.”  He continued, “Whatever time he does it will be very respectable for his age and especially the time frame he has been training.”

The 3:55.68 time clears the 2015 Australian Swimming Championships qualifying time of 4:07.00, as earning the necessary cuts were acknowledged as the purpose for selecting this particular meet in which to compete.  Hackett will take on the 200m freestyle later this afternoon (local time) before tackling the 100m freestyle tomorrow.

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Just makes us wonder with the lack of data points about what the limits are. How much of this Top-60 world ranking is genetic/nature v transformed genetics/nurture?

Properly dosed could Distance swimmers improve into their 30’s without injury? By distance I mean 400-800-1500 meters.


Not bad at all. Let’s see how he can build on this from here, and how this 200 looks.


Well, we know marathon runners and triathletes can compete at a high level until their early 40s. In fact, triathletes seem to peek in their 30s, not their 20s. No reason swimmers can’t do the same.

The reasons as to why we are only starting to see this recently are twofold:

1. There wasn’t enough money in the sport for athletes to stick with it into a more advanced age.

2. Psychological burnout. It’s hard to do the brutal training swimmers must endure over many years. Especially the distance events, which requires much more difficult training. That is why most “comeback” swimmers do shorter events.

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 …

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