Hackett produces fine 400 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hackett produces fine 400

By Jim Morton 04/01/2004 08:40:27 PM Comments (0)

A shaven-headed Grant Hackett declared 2004 was not a time to look pretty but to swim fast at the Olympics after producing a stunning first swim of the New Year.

He took the 400m freestyle at the Queensland swimming titles in a time that would have earned bronze at the 2000 Olympics and promised a more precious medal in Athens.

Hackett, the 1500m world record holder, clocked 3min 46.79sec to lead home AIS-based Craig Stevens and Brisbane's Nick Sprenger in the first open final of the state meet.

The time was two seconds faster than what he recorded at Sydney 2000 and suggested friendly rival Ian Thorpe would be pushed to defend his 400m gold at the Athens Olympics.

The 23-year-old was understandably rapt with his performance and credited improved "finesse" for his easy ride through the water.

"I just wanted to get into the 3:40s tonight and to do a 46 only half suited up is great," he said.

"It's really great I'm just trying to focus on my stroke a little bit more.

"I know I'm tough enough in training to grind it out time and again but whether I hold my stroke together at the end of the race rather than panicking is an important factor.

"That finesse has got to come into it more, rather than be an animal and keep up with Ian or (American Michael) Phelps. Just focus on myself and keep up my stroke.

Hackett did not completely shave down for the race but did sport a bald head for the first time in competition.

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