Olympic swim­mer Grant Hack­ett come­back gath­ers steam

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Olympic swim­ming great Grant Hack­ett takes an­other step in his come­back fol­low­ing a trou­bled spell in re­tire­ment at the Aus­tralian swim­ming cham­pi­onships start­ing Fri­day, and is re­laxed about his chances.

The 34-year-old walked away from the sport in 2008 af­ter win­ning the 1500-me­ter freestyle at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and claim­ing four world ti­tles in the event. He won sil­ver in the event at the 2008 Olympics.

But his life later ran into prob­lems, with a messy di­vorce from singer-song­writer wife Candice Al­ley and al­le­ga­tions he smashed up his Mel­bourne apart­ment.

Last year the for­mer 1500-me­ter world record-holder un­der­went re­hab in the United States af­ter seek­ing help for an ad­dic­tion to sleep­ing pills.

He is now back un­der his old coach De­nis Cot­terell and will line up on the blocks at the na­tional cham­pi­onships in Syd­ney.

Hack­ett told the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion the up­heaval in his per­sonal life led him back to the pool, but he was a dif­fer­ent swim­mer the sec­ond time around.

“I don’t have ex­pec­ta­tions like I did be­fore and I sort of re­serve the right to pull out at any time,” he said.

Hack­ett added that the cham­pi­onships would al­low him to gauge his place among the coun­try’s elite swim­mers.

“Whilst I am en­joy­ing it I will con­tinue to do it but if I don’t en­joy it, I can pull out at any time be­cause it’s not like I have set up any grand vi­sion of this big come­back,” he said.

“I want to just en­joy swim­ming and hope­fully swim fast.”

De­spite the 1500-me­ter be­ing the event where he en­joyed huge suc­cess, his come­back has fo­cused on the 200-me­ter and 400-me­ter freestyle.

Hack­ett

said swim­ming com- pe­t­i­tively in the 1500-me­ter again was cur­rently out of his reach.

“If I re­ally want to con­tinue with this and if I look to go­ing all the way to the Olympic tri­als next year ... it’s just re­ally too short a time frame,” he said.

“For the time that I’ve ac­tu­ally had out of the sport and the fit­ness and the base work that ac­tu­ally needs to be done for a race like that, it would just be too dif­fi­cult.”

Cot­terell said re­tire­ment had not di­min­ished Hack­ett’s work ethic.

“He trains like he used to and that’s as hard as any­one can pos­si­bly go,” Cot­terell told the na­tional broad­caster.

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