Longhorns Olympics Trials Q&A: Brendan Hansen
June 25, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Brendan Hansen's sheer focus and ability were evident throughout his Texas swimming tenure, as he won national titles in the 100 and 200 breaststroke all four years as a Longhorn.
Hansen continued his excellence on the world's stage, winning three medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and in August 2006, he set three world records in the span of 20 days. Hansen broke the 100m breast mark once and the 200m breast record twice.
Following a gold medal and another world record in the 400 medley relay in 2008, Hansen retired from the sport. He maintained his competitive edge through triathlons, and in 2011 returned to the pool with a refreshed focus.
Hansen won the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the 2011 ConocoPhillips National Championships. He recently spent time with TexasSports.com as he prepares for this week's Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb.
How did you feel after 2008? I remember swimming my last race, and I didn't care that it was my last one. I didn't have that edge I was looking for. A lot of things in my life, I had put on the back burner to chase this dream and train. All those sacrifices that you make were really weighing on me. I wanted to make them a priority. I had been dating the same girl for eight years, so we finally got married and started our life together.
How did you fill that competitive void? For the next two years, I didn't swim. I left Beijing with no desire to go back. I was done. But I'm not a guy to sit on the couch, and I wanted to do something different with my workouts. I bought a road bike and just started riding, and then a few guys talked me into trying triathlons because of my swimming background.
I did my first triathlon in May 2009. I fell in love with it. I crossed the finish line and felt just like I did when I broke the world record. It was nice being around that positive environment. It was a different outlook totally, because there were no expectations whatsoever. It changed my body completely. I was 10 pounds lighter. Little did I know that would spark my juices again for swimming.
What do you appreciate differently about training now? I'm better at preparing, because I'm more mature about it. At 20, you just run and gun, because you're talented and don't know any better. Now, I know I'm putting the work in, and I have this checklist, and everything is checked off. I'm more prepared.
Everything seems to be falling into place. I've learned over the years that it's not so much the outcome I'm really worried about. It's better to enjoy the journey and not wish time away. It's going to get here fast enough. I find myself taking mental pictures along the way and soaking it all up.
What would make this comeback a success? I think it's already a success, just because I've been effective. I really don't have any expectations. I've worked really hard, so the rest will take care of itself. My mentality now is to just enjoy everything and let the process work.