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Brent Hayden

Inside with Brett Hawke: Brent Hayden

When Brent Hayden left the water for retirement 7 years ago, he was a talented swimmer who had found his career plagued by a series of physical and mental setbacks. Today— in what is possibly the best shape of his life— he’s preparing to qualify for the Olympics and ready to pick up where he left off. 

In this episode, catch Brent share the story of his departure and the inspiration for his return. What has been the key to finding success after a 7 year hiatus. He provides training insights, advice for young swimmers and shares who he’s looking forward to facing in the water this year. 

“The challenges that I was just going to have to overcome was just going to make whatever happens more valuable.” 

-Brent Hayden [13:53] 

Key Takeaways:

  • Brent Hayden’s thoughts on returning to swimming.
  • What caused him to leave the sport.
  • How his swimming has changed.
  • His advice for young swimmers..

Episode Timeline:

  • [00:02] Intro 
  • [00:14] Brent Hayden is returning to training at 36
  • [00:52] What retirement was like for Brent Hayden
  • [02:20] Falling back in love with swimming while in Lebanon
  • [06:03] Experiencing back spasms and  in 2012
  • [11:45] Earning a bronze medal despite personal struggles
  • [14:04] Swimming faster in the final v.s semi-final
  • [15:28] Predicting times while training & gauging the field 
  • [17:46] Brent Hayden’s career best time
  • [18:48] How he's planning to get faster in the next 6 months
  • [20:44] Bent's weekly training schedule
  • [21:44] Recovery at age 36
  • [23:04] Understanding nutrition post-retirement
  • [24:45] What he's eating on a daily basis
  • [29:00] What he would tell his younger self
  • [30:24] What kind of competitor is Brent Hayden
  • [32:20] Who he enjoyed racing against in the past
  • [35:10] Announcing his return
  • [37:11] The next-gen swimmers he's looking forward to racing
  • [38:47] Making the olympic team
  • [40:54] Brent Hayden’s thoughts on the ISL
  • [42:23] Outro

Key Quotes:

  • “I remember sitting in the stands in Beijing... I was sitting in the stands directly behind Kobe and Labron and Jason Kidd- my knee was in their back like I was literally in the seat directly behind them. But, I was so angry when I was sitting there watching the 100-meter freestyle final get swum and I just, I swore I'd never have to watch that final from the stands again.” -Brent Hayden [12:20] 
  • “I wouldn't want to change anything in the past because I feel like those failures that I experienced were necessary for my growth as a person. I feel like if I took those away I lost out on something valuable that's going to help me for the rest of my life.” -Brent Hayden [29:15] 
  • “You have to appreciate every opportunity that you have to get up on the blocks and race. Like when you stand up on the blocks you have to feel gratitude because these opportunities- one day they're gonna end and you're gonna wish you had appreciated them a little more. -Brent Hayden [ 29:53] 


Find | Brett Hawke


On Instagram @hawkebr

Find | Brent Hayden


On Instagram: @thebrenthayden

On Twitter: @thebrenthayden


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Special Thanks:

Inside with Brett Hawke is presented by Fitter & Faster. Host a swim camp. More than 1,000 swim clinic sessions in 46 States plus Canada & the Bahamas in 2019.

Inside with Brett Hawke is produced and promoted by Swimnerd. Connect your phone to your pace clock with the Swimnerd Pace Clock. Digital, affordable, and Bluetooth programmable from your smartphone.