Buff Grant makes his big move

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - AMY HAR­RIS

AT­TEMPT­ING to put high-pro­file bat­tles with ad­dic­tion and men­tal health is­sues be­hind him, for­mer swim star Grant Hack­ett has left the Glit­ter Strip to move closer to his chil­dren.

The triple-Olympic cham­pion was yes­ter­day snapped look­ing toned and healthy for the first time since his re­cent move to Mel­bourne, emerg­ing from a work­out at his lo­cal gym.

It’s un­der­stood Hack­ett re­lo­cated to Vic­to­ria from the Gold Coast late last month in an ef­fort to be closer to his twins Jag­ger and Char­l­ize — now aged seven — as he and ex-wife Candice Al­ley ne­go­ti­ate on­go­ing cus­tody is­sues.

The cou­ple, who mar­ried in 2007 and split five years later, cur­rently share cus­tody of their chil­dren but are be­lieved to be engaged in an on­go­ing le­gal bat­tle.

A close friend of Hack­ett con­firmed the ex-swim­mer was now de­ter­mined to mend re­la­tion­ships with his fam­ily in the wake of what can only be de­scribed as a tu­mul­tuous two years.

“Grant’s de­ter­mined to work on that re­la­tion­ship with his kids more than any­thing else in his life right now,” the con­fi­dant said.

“He’s fac­ing a tough bat­tle but he’s do­ing well.”

Now be­lieved to be sober and fight­ing fit, Hack­ett has re­cently taken up a full­time po­si­tion with wealth man­age­ment com­pany Au­s­tock Life.

He is also reg­u­larly seen in the pool, although yes­ter­day he dis­missed talk that he was con­sid­er­ing a com­pet­i­tive come­back as “im­pos­si­ble”.

“There’s no way I am swim­ming for any other rea­son than to stay fit,” laughed Hack­ett, who de­clined to dis­cuss any mat­ters re­lat­ing to the cus­tody of his twins.

“But I can say I am lov­ing be­ing in Mel­bourne again. I feel great and am re­ally happy to be work­ing and stay­ing fit and healthy.”

The fallen Aussie swim cham­pion was sen­sa­tion­ally ar­rested in Fe­bru­ary af­ter a vi­o­lent dis­pute with his brother Craig at his par­ents’ home on the Gold Coast.

Soon af­ter, Hack­ett re­lo­cated to the United States where he un­der­went a 30-day re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­gram in Mal­ibu be­fore an ex­tended stay at the home of good friend and US swim su­per­star Michael Phelps.

One of the na­tion’s most dec­o­rated swim­mers, Hack­ett will re­turn to the Gold Coast early next year to take part in the Com­mon­wealth Games torch re­lay.

How­ever, he said he had not yet been ap­proached to con­sult with the Aus­tralian swim team, which re­cently re­turned from one of its worst World Cham­pi­onship show­ings. Aus­tralia claimed just one gold medal — in the women’s 200m back­stroke — in Bu­dapest in July.

A lack of leadership and ex­pe­ri­enced men­tor­ship were named by some swim­mers as con­tribut­ing fac­tors to the poor per­for­mance.

“I stay in touch with Swim­ming Aus­tralia of­fi­cials and I cer­tainly like to be in­volved with the (Com­mon­wealth Games) team but as yet I’ve not been con­tacted about be­ing in­volved,” Hack­ett said.

Grant Hack­ett af­ter a gym ses­sion. Pic­ture: Rob Lee­son

Ex-wife Al­ley, and Hack­ett af­ter the fight with his brother.

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