Hackett finishes 3rd in 400 in competitive swim comeback

SYDNEY (AP) Two-time Olympic 1,500-meter gold medalist Grant Hackett finished third in the 400 freestyle on the opening day Friday of the Australian swimming championships.

In his first major meet since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 34-year-old clocked 3 minutes, 46.53 seconds. Hackett qualified fourth-fastest for the final, taking five seconds off his best time since returning to the pool six months ago after a six-year break.

Hackett said, ''I can't believe I can do that after six months ... who knows what I can do in another six months?''

Hackett is considered a strong chance of securing a top-six 200 freestyle finish and a relay spot at the world championships in Kazan, Russia in July.

The Australian won gold in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

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