Seven-time Olympic medalist Grant Hackett‘s bid for a fourth Olympics after a seven-year retirement ended at the Australian Olympic trials Friday.
Hackett, 35, finished 11th in the semifinals of the 200m freestyle, one day after he placed fourth in the 400m freestyle. Full Australian trials results are here.
He needed to make the eight-man 200m free final and finish sixth or finish second in the 400m free to become the oldest Australian Olympic swimmer of all time.
“It’s disappointing, but I gave it a shot,” Hackett said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “I was honest about my preparation and the ups and downs I had. The 400 yesterday really took it out of me. I felt great in the [preliminary] heat, but I didn’t have the fitness to keep bouncing back.
“I can get back to my normal life now.”
Hackett’s comeback was successful last year, when he finished fourth in the 200m free at the Australian Championships to make the World Championships team in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
He led off the preliminary heat relay at Worlds and wasn’t selected for the final, where Australia took bronze, still earning Hackett his 19th career Worlds medal. He debuted at Worlds in 1998 at age 17.
Hackett followed Kieren Perkins as Australia’s marquee man in its coveted race, the 1500m freestyle, taking gold in 2000 and 2004 and nearly becoming the first swimmer to win the same Olympic event three times in 2008. He took 1500m free silver in Beijing, his last international competition until the 2015 Worlds.
Four years ago, three of his teammates from Australian swimming’s golden era — Ian Thorpe, Michael Klim and Geoff Huegill — all failed in Olympic comeback attempts, too.