Michael Phelps pushes Grant Hackett to return

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The dual Olympic 1500m champion may be on the comeback trail, but he reserves the right to step off at any time if he doesn’t want to continue.

Having watched the hype that surrounded his great friend and rival Ian Thorpe’s failed comeback for the 2012 Olympics, Hackett is cautious about his own prospects and does not want them overblown.

He is 34 and has been out of the pool for six years. His last race was the 1500m final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He knows he’s not the swimmer he was. But the competitor’s heart still beats within.

“This is the last time that my body will be young enough to do this,” he said between training sessions at the Gold Coast yesterday.

However, he will not commit to a full campaign to qualify for a fourth Games in Rio next year until he is certain he still has the speed and stamina to match the younger generation.

“I am not getting ahead of myself in any way. If I can’t get to a level that I find satisfactory I will shut up shop.”

And those hoping to see him back swimming the 1500m are destined for disappointment.

“I have no desire to swim the 1500m again.” […]

Hackett revealed that it was a conversation with the American super­star Michael Phelps (who came back last year) at the Pan ­Pacific championships on the Gold Coast last August that made him reconsider. “Michael said ‘You should swim again’ and it was the first time that I felt like I wanted to get back in the water,” Hackett said.

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