Olympic gold medal winner Grant Hackett has made an encouraging start in his bid to qualify for Australia’s swimming squad for the 2016 Rio Games.
Hackett swam in three events at a qualifying meet at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre on the weekend – his first competitive outing since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
The triple Olympic gold medallist swam the 200m, 400m and 100m freestyle events at the meet, with his 400m time suggesting his Rio ambitions are more than just false hope.
The 34-year-old clocked an impressive 3:55.68 in the start-to-finish victory, a time which would have been enough to qualify for the final at last year’s Australian titles.
“I couldn’t have pictured thinking about making a final and then (coach Denis Cotterell) told me that my 400m would’ve made a final and I will be swimming a lot faster than that in three weeks,” Hackett told News Corp.
“I’m actually a bit taken aback my body can still do it as well as it can in the timeframe.”
Hackett, who has only been in serious training for his comeback for six months, then backed up with second-place finishes in the 200m and 100m.
He finished behind 2012 Olympian David McKeon in the 200m, clocking a 1:50.68 while McKeon finished in a 1:47.86.
Both of Hackett’s 400m and 200m times are expected to be ratified as world records in the Masters 30-34 age group previously held by Daniel Kowalski, taking his career tally to 17 world records.
In Sunday’s 100m, Hackett was pipped by another member of the London Games team with Ned McKendry winning in 50.56 seconds with Hackett in second with a 51.38.
Hackett will return to action on the Gold Coast next week before heading to the National Championships in Sydney from April 3.