Seven-time Olympic medalist Grant Hackett is the latest retired Australian swim star to return to training, but said he is not thinking about the Rio Olympics despite registering for drug testing.
“Because I’ve been through so much this year, I just wanted to get back into the squad and enjoy a bit of time with the boys and the camaraderie,” Hackett said told Australian media. “I just want to get really fit. That is kind of my goal over the next six or seven months — get to a good level of fitness again. Having a bit of time to put into a bit of swimming and gym work is good fun, that is all.”
At the very least, Hackett has started to follow in the steps of his peers from Australia’s swimming heyday of the early 2000s. Fellow Olympic medalists Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim and Geoff Huegill all unretired and logged failed attempts to make the 2012 Olympics.
Hackett, 34, won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004 in the 1500m freestyle, considered a premier event to Australian swim fans. He also was part of the Australian 4x200m free relay at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics and placed fifth in the Race of the Century, the 2004 Olympic 200m free final with Thorpe, Michael Phelps and Pieter van den Hoogenband.
Hackett has struggled with domestic disputes and sleeping-pill addiction since retiring following the Beijing Olympics.
“I would be 36 for Rio,” he told Australian media. “That’s probably just getting on a bit too much.”