Hackett arrives late but finishes early - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hackett arrives late but finishes early

By Guy Hand 06/01/2008 08:56:44 PM Comments (0)

Grant Hackett was running desperately late for his 800m race on Sunday night.

In the end, the champion swimmer could have arrived 15 seconds later and still beaten his rivals at the Victorian championships.

Hackett predictably torched the field as he continues to ramp up his return to the cutting edge of world distance swimming - clocking a solid 7 minutes 53.74 seconds for a comfortable win over China's Zhang Zhong (8:10.19).

The time was nearly two seconds quicker than Hackett posted in the 800m during his disappointing world championships last year, building confidence the 27-year-old's preparation for Beijing is on track.

But Hackett nearly didn't make Sunday night's race at all.

The 800m was scheduled to start at 8.30pm, but eventually started 20 minutes earlier as other events took less time than expected and the race was shuffled forward.

That led to the sight of Hackett racing on to the pool deck as his rivals were moving to the blocks - a helper zipping up his suit as he scurried on to the blocks, then gave his rivals the pasting all expected.

"I nearly wasn't doing the race. I walked to the marshalling area, without my suit and goggles on, and straight on to the blocks," Hackett said.

"But the swim felt pretty comfortable tonight - I was happy with how controlled it was.

"It's good to put yourself in situations like that sometimes to see if shakes you a little bit. I'm pretty happy."

Hackett, who was just edged out for the 200m gold medal on the opening night, rounds off what has been a successful meet with the 400m freestyle on Monday night.

World champion Leisel Jones qualified fastest for Monday night's women's 100m breaststroke final despite being in heavy training.

Jones clocked a slick 1:07.24, edging out Queenslander Tarnee White (1:07.32).

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