Australian swimming championships: Day 1Photos

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Australian swimming championships: Day 1 | Photos Grant Hackett at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

Grant Hackett at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Emma McKeon at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Alicia Coutts at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Alicia Coutts at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Jake Packard at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Jake Packard at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Christian Sprenger at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Leah Neale and Jessica Ashwood embrace at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Emily Seebohm at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

Aisling Scott at the 2015 Australian swimming championships, day one. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.

TweetFacebookFormer Olympic and world champion Grant Hackett conceded his return was “technically a comeback” after he took it to his younger charges in the final of the men’s 400m freestyle at the Australian swimming championships in Sydney on Friday to win bronze.

The final was won by 18-year-old Victorian Mack Horton in 3minutes 42.84 seconds from defending triple champion David McKeon, 22, and of Queensland who won the silver in 3.44.28. Hackett, who was with the leading pair up until the last 100m, was third in an impressive 3.46.53.

For Hackett, 34, the bronze was an incredible result considering the Queenslander has been back in training for six months after six years away from competition.

In what was the first final of the meet at the Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre in Homebush – and one watched with Ian Thorpe in attendance – Hackett, who was racing in lane six, led after the first lap, but then dropped to third place that he held to the finish.

But the Queenslander stayed on the shoulders of Horton and McKeon until 300m, when the younger pair edged away in a race that saw them change the lead several times. Hackett, who labelled his qualifying time for the final (3.49.97) in Friday morning’s heats as “mind blowing”, was even more astonished with time in the final — as too was Hackett’s coach Denis Cotterell judging by his smile.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t believe I can do that in six months. I’m really surprised,” Hackett said. “Maybe I’m just a bit older, a bit stronger, been able to get that speed a bit easier perhaps and let my body develop a bit more and not doing so much aerobic work. Who knows what I can do in another six months? I said to Denis before this meet, ‘Geez, I’d love to get down to a 3.45 by the end of the year’. I’m basically there now.”

Asked if his return could now be termed a comeback – a term he has repeatedly rejected with the explanation that he wants to swim for the joy of it and not the “glory”, Hackett replied: “I can’t really avoid that can I? I hate it. I hate the word. Everyone knows I hate the word because it’s not what the intention was. But I guess for me I am doing it for fun. That’s the way I am going to keep on doing it.

But then he said: “Yeah … it’s technically a comeback if that’s what you want to call it but … it has nothing to do with trying to get the glory back or fill a void in my life. I enjoy swimming. I actually swim better when I enjoy it than with all that pressure I put on myself.”

Hackett said a pleasing aspect of his performance has been his ability to back up with two swims in one day which will be tested again in Monday’s 200m freestyle heats.

Hackett said he felt strong throughout Friday night’s final, even though Horton and McKeon edged away with just over 100m to go. “I actually felt fine – 250m I felt good, 275 I started to hurt a little bit,” Hackett said.

“I thought actually that I might be able to pull Mac in a bit, but those guys have trained another gear that I haven’t got yet.”

Meanwhile, Queensland’s Jessica Ashwood won the women’s 400m freestyle final on Friday night in 4.05.58, from fellow Queenslander Leah Neale (4.06.84) and WA’s Tamsin Cook (4.07.14)

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