Grant Hackett

Grant George Hackett OAM (born 9 May 1980) is an Australian swimmer, most famous for winning the men's 1500 metres freestyle race at both the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. This achievement has led him to be regarded as one of the greatest distance swimmers in history. He also collected a gold medal in Sydney for swimming in the heats of the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay. He is well regarded for his versatility, and has held the long course world record in the 200 m, 800 m, and 1500 m freestyle. He has dominated the 1500 m event for a decade, being undefeated in the event in finals from 1996 until the 2007 World Aquatics Championships. In total, he has won 10 long-course world championship gold medals.

Grant Hackett
Personal information
Full nameGrant George Hackett
National team Australia
Born (1980-05-09) 9 May 1980
Southport, Queensland, Australia
Height197 cm (6 ft 6 in)
Weight96 kg (212 lb)
ClubMiami Swimming Club, Gold Coast Canoe, Melbourne Vicentre

Hackett was the captain of the Australian swimming team from the time the role was reintroduced in 2005 until his retirement in 2008.

Hackett worked for the Nine Network, often hosting Wide World of Sports. Hackett's contract as a Westpac Banking Corporation ambassador was not renewed in February 2012 after 13 years in the role, but he remains an employee of the organisation.

Early life

Hackett was born at Southport on the Gold Coast of Queensland. He is the son of a policeman and younger brother of a Surf Lifesaving champion. He attended Merrimac State High School.

Swimming career

Hackett first achieved prominence on debut at the 1997 Pan Pacific Championships, where he first won the 1500 meters. He also won the 400 m freestyle, recording his only international victory over the yet-to-be-famous Ian Thorpe at the distance in international long course competition.

1998 World Championships

During the 1998 World Championships, he again won the 1500 m but was narrowly upset by Thorpe in the 400 m. He also combined with Thorpe, Michael Klim and Daniel Kowalski to win the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay, beginning a six-year winning streak in the event over the United States.

Men's 400m Freestyle Silver Medal3:46.44
Men's 1500m Freestyle Gold Medal14:51.70
Men's 4 × 200 m Freestyle Gold Medal7:12.48

These results were replicated at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur. From 1997 to 2007 he was unbeaten in the 1500 m, winning it at every major world competition, including the World Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, Olympics, Commonwealth and Australian Championships.

In 1999, Hackett broke his first world record, unexpectedly breaking Giorgio Lamberti's 200 m freestyle world record while leading off his club relay team at the Australian Championships. That record was subsequently broken by Ian Thorpe in the same year at the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships in Sydney, although Hackett himself bettered his old mark. Hackett himself claimed the 1500 m freestyle, and combined with Thorpe, Klim and Bill Kirby to break the world record in the 4 × 200 m freestyle.

2000 Summer Olympics

Olympic medal record
Representing  Australia
2000 Sydney – Men's Swimming
4 × 200 m freestyle relay7 min 07.05 s (WR)
1500 m freestyle14 min 48.33 s

Entering the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Hackett was the overwhelming favourite in the 1500 m freestyle, and was also expected to help Thorpe take a quinella in the 200 m and 400 m events. However, due to a virus, he was well short of his best and finished eighth and seventh, respectively, in these events. He followed this with an extremely slow swim in the heats of the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay, and was dropped from the final quartet, being replaced by Todd Pearson. By the time the final of the 1500 m freestyle came, Hackett had qualified third behind sentimental favourite Kieren Perkins, who was being vocally cheered by the crowd. In the face of the immense pressure, Hackett adopted a more attacking, fast-starting approach, and managed to hang on to claim gold.

2001 World Championships

At the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Hackett was in the peak of his speed. He set personal bests in the 200 m, 400 m 800 m and 1500 m freestyle events, finishing second to Thorpe in both 400 m and 800m, and bettering the 800 m world record in the latter. Along with Thorpe, Klim and Kirby, they bettered the previous world record in the 4 × 200 m freestyle. In the 1500 m, Hackett attacked immediately, and stayed well ahead of Perkins' world record, and with the crowd standing and willing him on, he broke the record by 7 seconds, to claim gold.

Men's 400m Freestyle Silver Medal3:42.51
Men's 800m Freestyle Silver Medal7:40.34
Men's 1500m Freestyle Gold Medal14:34.56WR
Men's 4 × 200 m Freestyle Gold Medal7:04.66WR

2003 World Championships

In the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, Hackett picked up five medals; three gold, a silver and a bronze. Despite capturing individual medals in 200, 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events for the first time in an international meet, Hackett failed to break any personal best times.

Men's 200m Freestyle Bronze Medal1:46.85
Men's 400m Freestyle Silver Medal3:45.17
Men's 800m Freestyle Gold Medal7:43.82
Men's 1500m Freestyle Gold Medal14:43.14
Men's 4 × 200 m Freestyle Gold Medal7:08.58

2004 Summer Olympics

Olympic medal record
Representing  Australia
2004 Athens – Men's Swimming
400 m freestyle3 min 43.36 s
4 × 200 m freestyle relay7 min 07.46 s
1500 m freestyle14 min 43.40 s

At 196 cm (six foot five) and 89.8 kg (198 pounds), Hackett won the gruelling 1500 meters race by sheer physical strength and stamina. He showed this in Sydney when he won despite having only partly recovered from illness, and again in Athens, when he survived challenges from swimmers (Larsen Jensen and David Davies) both six years his junior to hang on to win the race, despite a partially collapsed lung. This came after a solid swim in the 400 m to claim silver behind Thorpe, and a lackluster performance in the individual 200 m, followed by an unconvincing swim in the lead-off leg of the 4 × 200 m relay, when he was 1.66 seconds off his best. His sluggish heat swim placed him third, raising concerns within the Australian camp. After the Olympics, it was revealed that one of his lungs was partially collapsed, leaving his total lung capacity diminished by 25%.

2005 World Championships

In 2005, Swimming Australia introduced the concept of a captain for the swimming team. Hackett was awarded this honour, and led Australia in the World Championships at Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He won gold medals in the 400 m, 800 m and 1500 m freestyle (as well as silver in the 200 m freestyle), the first person ever to achieve this feat, along with the only swimmer to medal in four distances in a single world championships. His victory in the 800 m event broke Thorpe's world record, and his 1500 m victory saw him become the first to win an event four times at a World Championships. He anchored the 4 × 200 m team to bronze with a split of 1:44.84, making him the second fastest performer in relay splits. He was named as FINA's Male swimmer of the meet.

Men's 200m Freestyle Silver Medal1:46.14
Men's 400m Freestyle Gold Medal3:42.91
Men's 800m Freestyle Gold Medal7:38.65WR
Men's 1500m Freestyle Gold Medal14:42.58
Men's 4 × 200 m Freestyle Bronze Medal7:10.59

In November 2005, Hackett announced his withdrawal from the 2006 Commonwealth Games due to being unavailable for the selection trials because of a minor surgery to correct a shoulder injury. However, he was given dispensation to act as a non-competing captain in order to mentor the fellow swimmers in the lead-up to the competition.

In late 2006, Hackett relocated to Melbourne due to personal reasons. He attributed his disrupted preparation to adjusting with his new regime. Prior to the 2007 World Aquatics Championships, he presented a pessimistic outlook of his prospects.

2007 World Championships

He qualified last in the 400 m event, but led in the final before fading in the last lap to take the bronze medal. He qualified fifth in the 800 m event, but finished seventh, more than ten seconds behind the winner. In the 1500 m final Hackett came seventh, ending his decade long unbeaten streak in the event.

Men's 400m Freestyle Silver Medal3:45.43
Men's 800m Freestyle 6th7:55.39
Men's 1500m Freestyle 7th14:59.59

In December 2007, Hackett competed in and won his first National Championship 10 km Open Water race. By barely edging out veteran open-water swimmer and surf Ironman Ky Hurst, the pair both qualified for the World Championships in Seville, Spain. However, Hackett failed to finish in the top 10 in this event, and therefore missed out on qualifying for the 10 km open water swim at the 2008 Summer Olympics.[1] He was also criticised for appearing to be overweight after the event, a claim that he rejected as "ridiculous".[2]

At the 2008 Victorian Short Course Swimming Championships, his final Australian meet before departing for the Olympics, Hackett broke his own 800 metres freestyle world record – lowering the mark by almost two seconds to 7:23.42.[3]

2008 Olympics

Though Hackett failed to qualify for the 10,000m; he succeeded in other events. He swam the 400m and 1500m freestyle and the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay. In the 1500m he finished second, winning the silver medal behind Tunisian Oussama Mellouli. Had he won, he would have been the first male swimmer to win three successive Olympic titles in the same event, an opportunity denied to two-time Olympic 1500m champion Vladimir Salnikov due to the 1984 Summer Olympics communist boycott. Hackett won the individual 200m freestyle swim at the Olympic trials but as he was not seeking a berth in the event he handed his spot in the Olympic competition in this event to the third-place finisher at the trials, Nicholas Sprenger.

Men's 400m Freestyle 6th3:43.84
Men's 1500m Freestyle Silver Medal14:41.53
Men's 4 × 200 m Freestyle Bronze Medal7:04.98

2015 World Championships Comeback

After six and half years since racing a major competition and after six months of training under his belt. At the Australian Championships, Hackett finished fourth in the 200m freestyle, qualifying for the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay for the 2015 World Aquatics Championships. He also won a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle. At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, he won a bronze medal for swimming in the heats of the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay, thereby winning his first international medal since the 2008 Olympics.

Career best times

Hackett has set quite a number of world records both short course and long course. His world records in the 1500 meter (long course and short course) and 800 meter short course were the only male world records that survived the 2008/2009 release of the high tech Polyurethane suits.

Long Course Personal bests
Event Time Record
200 m freestyle1:45.61 Former WR Holder2004
400 m freestyle3:42.51 2001
800 m freestyle7:38.65 Former WR Holder2005
1500 m freestyle14:34.56 Former WR Holder2001
4 × 200 m freestyle7:04.66 Former WR Holder2001
Short Course Personal bests
Event Time Record
200 m freestyle1:42.48 2003
400 m freestyle3:34.56 Former WR Holder2003
800 m freestyle7:23.42[4] WR2008
1500 m freestyle14:10.10[4] Former WR Holder2001
4 × 200 m freestyle6:52:66 Former WR Holder2007

Media career

Hackett is currently contracted to the Nine Network, having previously worked with the Seven Network.

In October 2008, Hackett joined Nine News Melbourne as the weekend sport presenter, replacing Heath O'Loughlin. However, in November 2009, Nine announced that Hackett would no longer continue as weekend sports presenter, but would continue with the network in other capacities.

Personal life

Hackett holds a double degree in commerce and law, and an executive MBA from Bond University.[5][6] He also has a diploma of financial services.[7]

On 14 April 2007, Hackett married Australian singer Candice Alley. In March 2009, Hackett announced that his wife was expecting twins and in September she gave birth to a son named Jagger Emilio and a girl named Charlize Alley.[8]

On 29 October 2011, police were called to attend a dispute at Hackett and Alley's Melbourne apartment, which was reportedly found in disarray.[9] On 3 May 2012, Alley and Hackett announced that they were separating. They divorced in August 2013.[10]

Hackett was questioned by police for an alleged assault during a flight from Adelaide to Melbourne on April 17, 2016.[11][12] Police sources say that he "went to the toilet for an extended period, taking a bag with him. He emerged aggressive and agitated, taking offence to a male business class passenger who reclined his seat".[11] He reportedly abused and grabbed the passenger on the chest before crew restrained him and contacted Federal Police.[11] The victim alleged he was sexually assaulted,[11] accusing Hackett of groping him.[12][13] The man alleged that Hackett "tweaked my nipple quite forcefully."[12][13] Hackett said he had no recollection of touching the man's nipple, and said that the incident followed a period of heavy drinking.[14] Hackett said he "stuffed up" and was embarrassed by his actions.[11][12] The victim chose not to press charges after receiving a personal apology.[12]

On 15 February 2017 Hackett was arrested following a disturbance at his parents' house on Queensland's Gold Coast. Hackett had previously admitted a reliance on sleeping pills and had been battling mental health issues.[15] Later that same day, his parents reported him missing from home, but before he was reported missing, Hackett posted a photo of himself on Instagram with cuts and bruises to his face and said his brother had beaten him. Hackett was subsequently found safe.[16]


Hackett received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000, and both a Centenary Medal and a Medal Of the Order of Australia in 2001, the latter for his 2000 gold medal win.[17][18][19] He was named as the Australian Swimmer of the Year in 2005, and was also named the Swimmer of the Year by the Swimming World magazine. In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, Grant Hackett was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for his role as a "sports legend".[20]In 2010 he was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame,[21] and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2014.[22]

See also


  1. Cowley, Michael (5 May 2008). "Hackett fails in open water". The Age. Australia.
  2. Paxinos, Stathi (7 May 2008). "No muffin top here: Hackett fighting fit". The Age. Australia.
  3. "Hackett on track after short course WR". Hanson Sports Media. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. . Olympic swimming champion Grant Hackett masters his university studies. Courier Mail, Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  6. Our Sporting Stars Make a Splash in Beijing. Bond University. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  7. Bellamy, Louise (14 July 2008). "Swimming and the city". The Age. Australia.
  8. Grant Hackett's twins joy. Retrieved 3 December 2016
  9. "Drama as Grant Hackett and Candice Alley's home is trashed and police called". Herald Sun. 1 November 2011.
  10. Candice Alley says her twins have saved her since split with Hackett., Retrieved 3 December 2016
  11. Webster, Andrew (18 April 2016). "Grant Hackett breaks his silence on plane incident". Sydney Morning Herald.
  12. Coster, Alice. Benns, Matthew. Rothfield, Phil (18 April 2016). "Grant Hackett plane scandal: Passenger accuses swimmer of groping his chest". Herald Sun.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. Benns, Matthew. Flower, Wayne (17 April 2016). "Grant Hackett aeroplane row: Police called after Virgin Airways incident". Daily Telegraph.
  14. Pierce, Jeremy (29 April 2016). "Grant Hackett breaks silence after mid-flight incident". Courier Mail.
  15. Eaton, Matt (16 February 2016). "Grant Hackett a danger to himself, family struggling to cope, brother says". ABC. Australia.
  16. The Telegraph (16 February 2016). "Grant Hackett 'found safe' after he was reported missing by his family amid concerns for swimming great's mental health". The Telegraph. UK.
  17. "Hackett, Grant: Australian Sports Medal". It's an Honour. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  18. "Hackett, Grant: Centenary Medal". It's an Honour. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  19. "Hackett, Grant, OAM". It's an Honour. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  20. Bligh, Anna (10 June 2009). "PREMIER UNVEILS QUEENSLAND'S 150 ICONS". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  21. "Grant Hackett OAM". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  22. International Swimming Hall of Fame, Honourees, Grant Hackett (AUS). Retrieved 18 March 2015.
Preceded by
Giorgio Lamberti
Men's 200 metre freestyle
world record holder (long course)

23 March 1999 – 23 August 1999
Succeeded by
Ian Thorpe
Preceded by
Ian Thorpe
Men's 800 metre freestyle
world record holder (long course)

27 July 2005 – 29 July 2009
Succeeded by
Zhang Lin
Preceded by
Kieren Perkins
Men's 1500 metre freestyle
world record holder (long course)

30 July 2001 – 31 July 2011
Succeeded by
Sun Yang
Preceded by
Kieren Perkins
Men's 800 metre freestyle
world record holder (short course)

21 Aug 2001 present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kieren Perkins
Men's 1500 metre freestyle
world record holder (short course)

27 Sep 1998 4 Dec 2015
Succeeded by
Gregorio Paltrinieri
Preceded by
Michael Phelps
Swimming World
World Swimmer of the Year

Succeeded by
Michael Phelps
Preceded by
Ian Thorpe
Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year
Succeeded by
Park Tae-hwan
Media offices
Preceded by
Heath O'Loughlin
Nine News Melbourne
Weekend sport presenter

18 October 2008 – November 2009
Succeeded by
Lisa Andrews
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