Australian swimmer Grant Hackett, a seven-time Olympic medalist, will come out of a seven-year competitive retirement and enter the Australian national championships in April, according to Australian media.
He hasn’t yet set a goal of making the 2016 Olympics, nor any international team for Australia.
“That’s not where I am at in my head,” Hackett said, according to the Herald Sun. “I haven’t got that far ahead of myself.
“I probably haven’t felt this good since 2004. This year I’ve just really got my passion back for it. I do set myself little goals and little times and I’m trying to improve, that’s just the sort of person I am.
“Where it’s going to lead I really don’t know. My only ambition at this stage is to do a club relay with the boys.’’
Hackett won the 1500m freestyle, Australia’s signature swimming event, at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and won 1500m silver in 2008, when he tried to become the first swimmer to win the same event at three straight Games.
Hackett, now 34, also won 400m free silver behind Ian Thorpe at Athens 2004 and was part of three medal-winning Australian 4x200m free relay teams (gold in 2000, silver in 2004 and bronze in 2008).
Hackett, who retired after the Beijing 2008 Olympics, is following in the path of countrymen Thorpe, Michael Klim and Geoff Huegill, all stars of Australia’s dominant era of swimming in the early 2000s who unretired.
Thorpe, Klim and Huegill came out of retirement prior to the London 2012 Olympics, but none made the Australian team.
“[Thorpe] didn’t make comebacks look overly attractive, it was probably more of a deterrent,” Hackett said. according to the Herald Sun. “That is probably why I’m more reserved and more humble because of watching that. At the age of 34, which is extremely old for swimming particularly after six years off, it becomes a challenge for me in my own mind of ‘how fast can you go at this age?”