Brent Matthew Hayden

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Brent Matthew Hayden

Birthplace: Mission, BC, Canada
Managed by: Nathan Luke Cowdrey
Last Updated:

About Brent Matthew Hayden

Brent Matthew Hayden (born October 21, 1983) is a former Canadian swimmer. Hayden was a bronze medal winner in the 100 m freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He was co-World Champion in the same event in 2007 with Filippo Magnini of Italy. By winning the 100 m, Hayden became the first Canadian in 21 years to win a gold medal at the World Aquatics Championships, he was also the first Canadian to appear in the 100 m final at the Olympics since Dick Pound at the 1960 Summer Olympics and the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in the 100 m. Hayden adds a further three silver and one bronze medal to his World Championship totals. He is the current reigning Commonwealth Games champion in both the 50 m and 100 m freestyle events. In addition, Hayden is currently the Canadian record holder in the 200 m, 100 m and 50 m freestyle in both the short-course and long-course. He has also held the world record in the 4×100 m medley relay, and the 4×200 m freestyle relay.


Athens was the location of Hayden's first Olympics when he took part in the 2004 Summer Olympics as part of the Canadian swimming team. It was a disappointing first Olympic appearance for Hayden, as inexperience took its toll on the 20-year-old. It was further worsened when Brent was mistaken for a protester and beaten up and arrested by the riot police because he was "tall and wearing a dark shirt" the night before the Closing Ceremonies, a week after his competition ended. The injuries sustained left him unable to compete at the World Short Course Championships which were being held a month later. His best individual finish in Athens was 13th in the 200 m freestyle event.

In Melbourne for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Hayden won his first major international silver medal when he finished second in the 50 m, an event he had not intended on racing. He also added three bronze medals at the same games, two from the relays and one in the 200 m freestyle final. Those medals were a premonition of the success to come for Hayden at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships. There he tied for the gold medal with the Italian swimmer in the 100 m freestyle; this was the first World Championship for the Canadians since 1986. In the process of winning the gold, Hayden had also shaved down his own national record in the event down to 48.43 and he also added a bronze from the World's in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay. As a result of his victory, the mayor of Mission declared "Brent Hayden Day" on May 26, 2007. As well, the Mission Marlins renamed their swim meet to the "Brent Hayden Invitational" and a large mural, painted on the wall of the Mission Leisure Center, by artist Pascal A. Pelletier, was unveiled.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, he was a member of the Canadian team that finished sixth in the 4×100 m freestyle event and fifth in the 4×200 m event. Although he qualified third fastest out of sixteen swimmers, one place ahead of Michael Phelps, he did not compete in the semi-finals of the 200 m freestyle. Instead, his coach decided to rest him for the 4×100 m freestyle, which was held that same day (Hayden set a Canadian record in the opening leg with a time of 47.56). He finished out of the finals in the 100 m freestyle, again suffering disappointment at the Olympics. He was promoted as the best Canadian swimmer at these games, but only fellow long-distance freestyle Ryan Cochrane managed to medal for the nation in the pool.

Other Awards

  • 2005 Canadian Swimmer of the Year
  • 2005 BC Athlete of the Year (Finalist)
  • 2005 Canadian Partners of the Year
  • 2006 Canadian Swimmer of the Year
  • 2006 BC Athlete of the Year
  • 2007 Canadian Swimmer of the Year
  • 2007 BC Athlete of the Year
  • 2007 Canadian Athlete of the Year
  • 2012 Canadian Athlete of the Year (Finalist)
  • 2012 Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipient
  • 2013 BC Sports Hall Of Fame Induction (Class of 2013)
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Brent Matthew Hayden's Timeline

October 21, 1983
Mission, BC, Canada
University of British Columbia