SYDNEY, Australia, October 31. NEVER one to settle for the status quo, Grant Hackett is hoping to contest the open-water 10K race at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Well, Hackett will swim the newly added event as long as it is scheduled for the second week of the Olympics, after the conclusion of the swimming competition.
"I would love to compete in the 10km if it is in the second week (of the Olympic program)," said Hackett. "It is certainly just another challenge to add to my program."
Hackett is the two-time defending Olympic champ and world-record holder in the 1,500-meter freestyle and would be a strong contender to reach the medal podium, perhaps gain gold, in the 10K race. Last summer, at the World Championships in Montreal, Hackett rolled to victories in the 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyles, and set a world record in the 800. He also picked up silver in the 200 free.
If the open-water race is scheduled for the second week, Hackett will not place his focus on the event. Rather, his training emphasis will remain on his pool exploits and the opportunity for a metric mile trifecta and a potential gold in the 400 free. Still, Hackett’s training regimen could be solid enough to place him in the mix for a title.
"This would not only interest me but a lot of 1,500 swimmers around the world would love to compete in an open water race," said Hackett, who was an open-water swimmer during his youth. "With the current program every (swimmer) has got two events at Olympic level except distance swimmers.
“Distance swimmers have only one opportunity to compete and show their skills and their hard efforts put in to prepare for endurance races. It would be in the best interest for the IOC and FINA to put the race in the second week and allow endurance swimmers of the pool to have an opportunity to compete."