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Grant Hackett Announces Retirement
    2008-10-27 23:18:42     Xinhua
Grant Hackett, captain of the Australian national swimming team, announced on Monday night that his retirement after 12 years on the national team.

"I am making an announcement about my future tonight and setting the record straight," Hackett declared at an award ceremony. "I want to do that in front of my peers."

Hackett last night won the peer-voted swimmers' swimmer award, arguably the most coveted by the athletes. He became a rare multiple winner of this award, having also won it in 2005.

Hackett is one of Australia's most decorated swimmers. In the Beijing Olympic Games, he had the opportunity to become the first male swimmer to win three Olympic gold medals in the men's 1500m event, equalling the feat of Dawn Fraser.

He fell just 0.69 seconds short and took the first silver medal of his 1500m career, equalling the Olympic record of his great rival Kieren Perkins, whom he defeated to win his first gold medal in 2000.

Hackett emerged on the international scene in 1997 when he won the world short-course title at just 16. He would remain undefeated in the event for almost 10 years, establishing a winning streak that is unlikely to be equalled in the toughest event in the pool.

His greatest performance came at the 2001 world championships in Fukuoka, when he finally broke Perkins' seven-year-old world record, establishing a mark of 14:34.56 that still stands.

He finally returned to that level at this year's Olympics, when he set the second-fastest time in history in his 1500m heat. Despite losing the final, he still has the fastest time this year and is the only man to have broken 14:40.

Asked last night if there was anything else he could have wished for in his career, Hackett replied: "One medal better would have been nice.

"But to do the best times I had done since 2001, personally, that was more rewarding for me than the medal."
 
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