On A Diet Of Super Foods, Grant Hackett Heads To 2016 Trials In A Body ‘Transformed’

Grant Hackett - a Dolphin in Gold Cap Once More - courtesy of Swimming Australia
Grant Hackett - a Dolphin in Gold Cap Once More - courtesy of Swimming Australia

Grant Hackett has shrugged off suggestions that his below-par showing in the 4x200m free at World titles last year is the bets of him on the way to Rio 2016 and what would be a fourth Olympics campaign

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TommyL

It would be great if Grant could bring some hardware in the bag from Rio.

If he dips under 1:47 then the chance to be in the top 6 at the trials is a real one (imo).

Is he going to be fast enough to swim the final of 4×200? That depends on his prelim time.

I expect at least 3 other Aussies to be faster than Grant – McEvoy, McKeon, TFH.

Commenter

Never….Ever…write off a champion. The guy won 1500m Olympic gold with one lung in 2004.

One thing is certain…he’ll give it everything he’s got.

commonwombat

Commenter, with due respect that was 12 years ago and it will be a 36yo man with a 36 yo body competing. What we saw in Kazan was the cold reality ….. his spirit is there but its cashing cheques that his body can no longer pay.

Whilst it IS very creditable that a 35/36yo is still able to lay down a 1.47; the cold fact is that splits of that level aren’t going to “do the business” in Rio where the standard is likely to be some levels above that of the Kazan race.

Could he make this relay squad ? Quite plausible but in many ways, that is a not particularly flattering indictment on the depth of the AUS men’s program. I would think the top 3 finishers in 200free most likely to be McEvoy, TFH & Smith. After that, it gets a bit scrappy both regards to the competition and the quality.

Eugene

I absolutely believe that 36 yo body is capable of much more than it is believed to. The main reason why the sport is dominated by younger people is that it’s hard to keep sacrificing your social life, family and other things you may want besides training and competing when you reach 30. If you are dedicated enough at 36 and haven’t destroyed your health with alcohol, poor diet, injuries or excessive mental stress, you still can compete with younger athletes. Especially in such technical kinds of sport as swimming. It’s hard to introduce something new to the running technique and you can see it by taking a look at world record progressions of the past 50 years – improvements are not so huge. Swimming is a developing sport. You can always find a way to get faster even if your heart is not as strong as it used to.

P. S. I just reviewed the list of national Masters records in swimming for my country. 30-34 age group records in most cases are weaker the the records for 40-44 guys. Should I explain why? 🙂

P. P. S. I wish the best to Grant. I believe this dude can still kick some butt.

commonwombat

Eugene, competing in Masters is one thing but this is someone trying to compete at the very highest level ….. against those 10-15-20 years his junior.

Granted, the quality of the 200 has been “down” for the past 2 years but there is no guarantee this will be the case this year. Hell, he could even grab one of the 400 spots for AUS; the quality and depth is AUS is sod ordinary and the AUS QT is pretty soft.

However, for every Dara Torres comeback success story, there are at least 20 times more unsuccessful ones. For all the “message of affirmation” of this story, one has to look back at all three of his previous Olympic campaigns and think; why should we have confidence that Cotterell & he have got it right this time ?

for33

I hope Mr. Hackett can contribute at least in the heats for the 4x200m freestyle relay. I have the impression that Daniel Smith has been systematically improving his 200m over the last two years, and that he might be close to 1:45 high by the trials and Rio. I’d love to know where Mr Horton is with regards to the 200m freestyle. Contrary to an often expressed opinion about David McKeon’s individual performances at international meetings, I think his work in the Australian 4x200m relay has been competent, so I think he can be one of the swimmers too. I also trust that Mr. McEvoy can show as much improvement in his 200m relay turn as in his 100m relay turns last the past two years. And I somehow hope this will be the year when Australia, Japan and Great Britain complete the podium at the olympics.

commonwombat

We should have a fuller picture by Sunday night as to how most leading AUS swimmers are tracking.

For33, the AUS M4X200 so often looks great on paper but the reality has been somewhat different. Yes, they picked up bronze in Kazan but the standard in Rio is likely to be much higher …. and the Euro teams that were “off their game” in Kazan are likely to be much more switched on.

The fact that you’ve not included USA in your podium beggars belief. Yes, they got “rolled” by GBR in Kazan and their line-up for Rio may not necessarily be a “vintage” one but they’re going to be out for revenge in Rio and they would have to be on the front row of betting.

GBR should still be around the medals, JAP certainly could be …… I’d rate both ahead of AUS unless the top 2 Australians are swimming sub1.45s

– With all due respect, McEvoy has yet to prove he is at the same level over 200 that he is at 100. His international relay record in this one is erratic to say the least.
– TFH was ….. ordinary in 2015; there were promising signs in December at Qld titles but we’ve seen nothing since.
– Prior to Kazan, McKeonD’s relay outings WERE sometimes competent; something has never been applicable to his solo endeavours but his Kazan relay efforts were on a similar level of eptitude as his individual swims.
– Smith WAS the success story of 2015; the 2nd solo spot is not beyond him if McEvoy & TFH aren’t swimming any better than 1.45highish
– the only 200 swims on record this season from Horton were a pair of 1.50s at January’s Vic titles.

Craig Lord

Eugene, masters is a different world (speed and skill not comparable for the most – big bulk of – part with elite swimmers) – Hackett would rip the masters world to shreds with his 200 etc times: and yes, no doping tests, but also a wide spectrum of devotions, with some training more in their 40s than they ever did before – and more time and disposable income to devote to it all. The younger age group is also that which is most likely to be in the formative years of career, family, children and umpteen related commitments, so no surprise to find a dip before a rise.

rfrize

I thought the masters would challenge those times mentioned above, but yup, Vlad’s got the WMR 35-39 1.52.84 against a lifetime best of 1.47.94.

Just noticed that he also deserves an asterisk under swimvortex rules!

Robbos

For33, I too expect huge improvements in the 4X200 for the Australian team, I expect both McEvoy & TBH to be big improvers in 2016 for the 200 free, McEvoy has matured as a swimmer since Kazan & TBH beat Guy in the commonwealth games in 2014 & has shown glimpses of returning to that form.
Smith is also the big big improver & I agree McKeon’s time is very good for a 4th swimmer, but poor for the individual favourite, now you throw in Horton, who swam a relay spilt of 1.45 a couple of years ago, Hackett, who I think can still get there, plus a smokie in Larkin. We have a potential another gold medal.

felix

Aussie may get bonze in a scrap with Japan, USA win with Phelps back, Britain silver. I think Hackett will be in the 6 with Fraser winning over McEvoy.

aswimfan

If Hackett wants to pull out all the stops, he should have aimed for his physical condition/weight in 2005 or previous years.
If I’m not mistaken, in 2007 worlds he just came back from one year’s off, and there were pictures of him on the beach with far less than flattering physique.

And in 2008 he was not at his best, physical wise. Granted, that was his last year.

Does anyone know if Hackett is already on ISHOF?
I remember that ISHOF already put Thorpe in the 2011 class (5 years after he announced retirement), only to be rescinded because Thorpe made a come back. I guess Hackett is also not yet on ISHOF as he retired in 2008, so the earliest he could have gone in is in 2013, but I think he already announced his comeback in 2013.

Kelsey Huebner

CW, with respect to Cotterell getting Grant’s Olympic campaign right I take it you are referring to his efforts in the 200 and 400?? Given that Grant had to be tapered for the whole week it has always been thought that Grant’s taper was peaked for the 1500 thus explaining his performances in other events – this is supported by Thorpe who believed the same. There was one year Grant came out and strongly challenged Thorpe in the shorter events and Thorpes belief was Cotterell and Grant were so confident of the 1500 result that Hacky targeted the shorter events with his taper..

I certainly don’t think Hacky will be guaranteed a spot.. His comeback is likely to be more in line with Huegill/Thorpe/Klim/Lenton than Phelps but credit where credits due on Hackys Olympic campaigns.

Craig Lord

Yes, aswimfan, he is in the Hall:
http://www.ishof.org/grant-hackett-(aus).html
as is Ian
http://www.ishof.org/ian-thorpe-(aus).html
Grant hadn’t announced his comeback by the time of his induction in 2013.
The entries are not rescinded (are visible, as you can see) put placed ‘on ice’ (if such a thing is possible, during competitive years.

aswimfan

Kelsey, there is a huge difference between the retirement of Hackett/Thorpe/Huegill with that of Phelps.

Hackett etc retired, got married, had kids, allowed their bodies to go ballooning, went into one crises after another and then after 5 years or more, decided to swim again.

Phelps retired practically only a little bit over than a year. And in that one year, he kept his body as fit. Of course it’s much easier for him to come back and and go near his best.

commonwombat

Kelsey, I’m not just referring to Sydney but to all three Olympics he attended. At each and every one, there seemed to be some sort of “misfire”.

Illness may’ve been a part but one would think they’d have “done a debrief” and examined their processes for what may’ve caused problems.

In Sydney, he was “way off”in his early races; so far so that he swam a 1.50 in the 4×200 heats and was ditched for the final.

However, Beijing was the one where I feel they seemed to “sabotage themselves”. In the 400 & 4×200, he comes out in a full bodysuit (along the lines of the Thorpe model) which was something he had never raced in before ! His performances in the 400 especially was well below par and were belied by his 1500 where he ditched the full suit.

I will readily agree that the odds lean strongly towards his comeback mirroring that of Heugill; however the relative weakness of AUS men’s ranks at this time does give him some openings.

Robbos

‘Australia’s relative weakness’. I would like to see how they perform at the trials before making such a strong comment.
I see both McEvoy & TFH both in the low 1.45s if not better, Smith @ low 1.46, McKeon in 1.46s, Horton thereabouts as well, Larkin the smokie, who I also think can go under 1.47.
But who knows they may all swim 1.48s, but I’m on the positive side.
Oh & Hacky, lets hope he is also under 1.47.

aswimfan

Commonwombat,

I forgot that Hackett didn’t swim in the 4×200 final in Sydney. Incredible, as he was the WR Holder in the 200 in the year before.

I also forgot that Hackett wore suit with sleeves a la Thorpe in Beijing 400 free. This further strengthens my argument that Thorpe’s sleeved suit in fact hindered his natural progress.

Robbos,
Australia traditionally produced stellar Olympics trials results, but only few were able to match or raise their game in the Olympics.
So when it comes to Australia Olympics prediction, I’d rather to take their trials results with wisdom.
But who knows, things may change, major champs results have been excellent for Australia in the past two years.

ThereaLuigi

A country will little over 20 million inhabitants that regularly ranks among the first on the planet in any swimming championship, alongside nations many times over bigger … if that is misfiring or not raising one’s game, I’ll take it any day

Craig Lord

🙂 Therealuigi

commonwombat

Robbo; what other AUS male swimmers are there beyond Larkin & McEvoy who can be legitimately seen as medal contenders ? How many male events are there where AUS is struggling for Olympic qualifiers compared to the women’s side ?

With regards to the first issue; Magnussen still has major question marks (we should know more in any case by Sun nite) & at this point Chalmers has to be classed as a “maybe”. Horton still has “question marks” against him. Packard made the 100brs final at last year’s Worlds but the AUS QT is still not a “gimme” for him.

With regards to the second issue:
– M200BRS QT is 2.09.64. No current AUS brs is currently within 1.5sec of this. Odds of a qualifier ….. very long.
– Both Mfly events remain weak. In the case of the 200, PBs would be required to make the AUS QT.
– There was no AUS entrant in 200IM at last year’s worlds. TFH has been the only internationally competitive 400IMer in recent years but has been hamstrung from progressing further due to backstroke inadequacy. Will he be swimming this event or is he betting “all in” with freestyle ?

Conversely, the W200IM looks the only event where qualification looks somewhat iffy. I think the facts basically speak for themselves.

Whilst I acknowledge your “best case scenario” prognostications for the 4×200; my measuring stick is that of their performances outside domestic competition.

At this point, we have little evidence as to whether the 2016 TFH model will resemble the 2014 one or the 2015. Hopefully its the former but as yet we don’t know. Smith HAS been a very pleasing improver of the last 12 months.

Horton may’ve swam a 1.45split 3 years ago but his 200’s since then have been pedestrian. McEvoy still remains an enigma over 200; plenty of promise but as yet, he’s yet to pull it all together.

I would like to know from WHAT precisely people are basing such prognostications for Larkin as part of the 4×200. Yes, he’s the ruling 200 backstroke champion and he has had some history with the 200IM but what is his history of actually swimming a 200free ? None that I can find at any significant level ……. and folk are expecting him to somehow pump out a 1.47 off zero experience in the event ?

aswimfan

I agree with CW.
At best, Larkin could be used for prelims 4×200.
There are a dozen of active swimmers who posted faster 200 free than Larkin in the past 3 years: TFH, Mcevoy, mcKeon, Smith, Hackett, Mckendry, Graham, Killey, Horton, Herzog. Even Magnussen posted a 1:47 in 2014.

Sure, Larkin’s 200 free cannot be that bad because he was a pretty good 200 IM swimmer, but he is/was a backstroke and IM swimmer. And unlike some other top backstroke/IMer such as Hosszu, he never really competed in 200 free.

for33

Perhaps I’m a little too optimistic, but I’m expecting very good improvements from
(1) David Morgan in 200m butterfly (not sure about his 100m); (2) great improvements from Daniel Tranter in 200m individual medley, (3) substantial improvements from Mr. D’Orsogna in 100m butterfly, and (4) and both Mr. McEvoy and Mr. Fraser Holmes dropping to mid-1.44 in 200m freestyle. I am also hoping that Mr. Horton will systematically improve his underwaters at each and every turn, both in 400m and 1500m, with the corresponding time improvements, that Mr. Fraser Holmes will manage a mid-4.08 in the 400m medley, a mid-1.45 from Daniel Smith in 200m freestyle, and improved overall reliability from Mr. Keon.

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