Hackett fires up for Olympic 200m - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hackett fires up for Olympic 200m

By Jim Morton 06/01/2004 09:49:02 PM Comments (0)

Grant Hackett threw his chips in for the most-eagerly anticipated pool race of the Athens Olympics with a stellar 200m freestyle effort.

Hackett put big-name middle-distance freestyle rivals Ian Thorpe, Michael Phelps and Pieter van den Hoogenband on notice with a 1min 46.65sec swim at the Queensland titles.

The 1500m world record holder finished two body lengths clear of runner-up Nick Sprenger (1:51.29) and showed his delight with a fist pump and thumbs up to the crowd at Brisbane's Chandler pool.

The time was only 0.81s off his personal best and faster than his 2003 world championship swim at Barcelona where he finished third in 1:46.85 behind Thorpe.

Thorpe's world record is 1:44.06.

Like his super quick 400m (3:46.79) on Sunday's opening night, Hackett attributed his new-found finesse on the final lap to a purer, longer stroke.

With almost three months before the national trials in Sydney, Hackett was overjoyed to be swimming two seconds faster than previous years at the state titles.

On early form the signs are there that the 23-year-old has a realistic shot at becoming only the second man behind Daniel Kowalski (1996) to snare an Olympic medal in each of the 200, 400 and 1500.

But Hackett denied he had any goals apart from improving PBs in all three events.

"I just want to improve and focus on doing my personal bests and I know I can do that," he said.

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