Brent Hayden

Team Canada Medal Count

Gold medal icon 0
Silver medal icon 0
Bronze medal icon 1


In his third Olympic appearance, Brent Hayden finally got the Olympic medal he had always desired. He won bronze in the 100m freestyle at London 2012 to win Canada’s first ever Olympic medal in that event. He was the first Canadian to even reach the Olympic final of the men’s 100m freestyle since Dick Pound at Rome 1960. He then announced his retirement.

In 2019, after more than seven years out of the sport and free from the back pain that had plagued him his last few years of competing, Hayden announced his return to competitive swimming. He broke the 50m freestyle Olympic ‘A’ qualifying time for Tokyo 2020 just six months after returning to the pool at the TYR Pro Series meet in Des Moines, Iowa. In June 2021, he won the 50m freestyle at the Canadian Olympic Trials with his second-fastest time ever in the event to qualify for his fourth Olympic Games.

At Tokyo 2020, Hayden swam the leadoff leg for the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay that finished fourth, missing the podium by just six-tenths of a second. He also competed in the 50m freestyle in which he missed advancing to the final by 0.04 of a second.  

Hayden competed in four events in his Olympic debut at Athens 2004, with his best result being a fifth-place finish in the 4x200m freestyle relay. At Beijing 2008, he was the third-fastest swimmer in the 200m prelims, but Hayden decided to withdraw from the semifinals to focus on the 4x100m freestyle relay final being held that same night. Although the team did not win a medal, Hayden broke his own national record in the 100m freestyle as he swam the opening leg. He was also a member of the men’s 4x200m freestyle team that set a Canadian record and finished fifth at the event.

Hayden made his FINA World Championships debut in 2003. He won his first world championship medals, a pair of silvers, as a member of the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relay teams at the 2005 Worlds in Montreal. At the 2007 World Championships, Hayden took down his own 100m freestyle national record en route to tying Italian Filippo Magnini for the gold medal, becoming the first Canadian to win gold at the FINA Worlds in 21 years. He added a bronze to his collection as the anchor of the 4x200m freestyle relay.

At the 2009 World Championships, Hayden finished fourth in the 100m freestyle, missing the podium by 0.02 as he set a then-national record of 47.27 seconds. He was the only swimmer in the final not to wear one of the now-prohibited polyurethane suits. In his final appearance at the worlds in 2011, Hayden took home the 100m freestyle silver medal.

Hayden has represented Canada at three Commonwealth Games. He set Commonwealth Games records in the 50m and 100m freestyle while winning double gold at Delhi 2010. At Melbourne 2006, he won silver in the 50m freestyle along bronze in the 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay. He won the first two of his eight career Commonwealth Games medals at Manchester 2002, bronzes in the 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays.

Hayden was selected as Swimming Canada’s Swimmer of the Year three consecutive times from 2005 to 2007.

A Little More About Brent

Getting into the Sport: Started swimming at the local club at age 5 but wasn’t a natural starting out as he failed his first swimming lesson… Outside Interests: Runs an activewear company, Astra Athletica, with his wife… Coaches swimming and launched the Brent Hayden Swim Camps… Has had multiple art exhibitions for his photography in Vancouver… Odds and Ends: Has a black belt in Isshin Ryu karate… Chinese writing tattooed on his right arm means “friends forever” that he had done with a friend who survived a terrible motorcycle crash… Nickname is “Soup” which is related to the Superman tattoo on his chest… Inducted to the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 2013… Recipient of the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal…

Olympic Highlights

Games Sport Event Finish
2004 AthensAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle Relay 4x200m - Men5
2004 AthensAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle Relay 4x100m - Men9
2004 AthensAquatics - SwimmingMedley Relay 4x100m - Men10
2004 AthensAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 200m - Men13
2004 AthensAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 100m - MenDNS
2008 BeijingAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle Relay 4x200m - Men5
2008 BeijingAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 100m - Men11
2008 BeijingAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 200m - Men17
2012 LondonAquatics - SwimmingMedley Relay 4x100m - Men8
2012 LondonAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle Relay 4x100m - Men10
2012 LondonAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 50m - Men14
2012 LondonAquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 100m - MenBronze
2020 Tokyo Aquatics - SwimmingFreestyle 50m - MenT9
2020 TokyoAquatic - SwimmingFreestyle Relay 4x100m - Men4

Notable International Results

Olympic Games: 2020 - 4th (men 4x100m freestyle), T9th (50m freestyle); 2012 - BRONZE (100m freestyle), 8th (men 4x100m medley); 2008 - 12th (100m freestyle), 6th (men 4x100m freestyle), 5th (men 4x200m freestyle); 2004 - 13th (200m freestyle), 5th (men 4x200m freestyle) Commonwealth Games: 2010 - GOLD (50m freestyle), GOLD (100m freestyle), 4th (men 4x100m freestyle), 4th (men 4x100m medley), 4th (men 4x200m freestyle); 2006 - SILVER (50m freestyle), BRONZE (100m freestyle), BRONZE (200m freestyle), BRONZE (men 4x100m freestyle); 2002 - BRONZE (men 4x100m freestyle), BRONZE (men 4x100m medley) FINA World Championships: 2011 - SILVER (100m freestyle); 2009 - 4th (100m freestyle); 2007 - GOLD (100m freestyle), BRONZE (men 4x200m freestyle); 2005 - 6th (100m freestyle), 4th (200m freestyle), SILVER (men 4x100m freestyle), SILVER (men 4x200m freestyle); 2003 - 11th (100m freestyle), 7th (men 4x100m freestyle), 5th (men 4x200m freestyle) Pan Pacific Championships: 2010 - SILVER (100m freestyle), BRONZE (50m freestyle), 4th (men 4x100m freestyle), 4th (men 4x200m freestyle), 5th (men 4x100m medley); 2006 - GOLD (100m freestyle), BRONZE (50m freestyle), BRONZE (men 4x200m freestyle); 2002 - 4th (100m freestyle), BRONZE (men 4x100m freestyle), BRONZE (men 4x100m medley)