Hackett confirms Rio Olympic swim tilt
17 July 2015
SWIMMING: It's official - comeback king Grant Hackett has committed to a Rio Olympic tilt.
And the 35-year-old hopes to provide a sign of things to come with a relay medal at his first world championships since 2007.
The dual Olympic champion had been reluctant to discuss his future despite qualifying for this month's world titles in Russia after six years out of the pool.
But Hackett finally revealed he would contest the Rio trials next year after becoming convinced his veteran frame could handle the training strain.
He confirmed his commitment to the sport by re-signing with the sponsor that first snapped him up as a 16-year-old in 1999, Speedo, to cap a remarkable turnaround in and out of the pool.
"It is more of a commitment to the sport," Hackett said of the new deal on Thursday.
"For me, it goes beyond the world championships now.
"I will certainly be looking forward to the Olympic trials next year.
"It is something that I've been hesitating committing to because I really wasn't sure how my body was going to hold up all through this or whether I could actually get the times or even had a realistic time frame to be competitive.
"I have been able to tick a few boxes there - now I want to see where I can take it."
First stop is this month's world titles in Kazan.
Hackett believes the team is a medal chance in his event, the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Australia's 4x200m squad appear hard to beat with Hackett, Pan Pacs 200m champion Thomas Fraser-Holmes and fellow guns Cameron McEvoy and David McKeon.
"But it doesn't matter what it looks like on paper, it's the results at the end of the day. I think a great example is the (favourites Australia) 4x100m relay at the London Olympics (which missed the podium)," Hackett said.
"But we've got some experienced guys, and the general culture on the team is quite strong and focused on getting the performance we believe we deserve.
"A medal is a definite possibility."
Armed with six months' training, Hackett qualified for the world titles 4x200m relay squad in April's national trials - his first major meet since the 2008 Olympics.
Hackett had only returned to the pool last September to get fit again after a battle with depression and an alleged sleeping pill addiction.
"It's been a fair journey ... but I am going with the ride and seeing how far I can take this," he said.
"When everyone asks me my age I always go to say '20-something' because that is how I feel.
"I feel like I am in bonus time at the moment - I want to lap it up and see what I can achieve."
The Australian team leaves for a pre-world titles training camp in Doha on Saturday.