VICTORIA – With two Olympic and five world championship medals to his credit one wonders why Ryan Cochrane would mess with success. But the 24-year-old Victoria resident has tinkered with his training program this year and so far… so good.
“I like how my season has been working out so far,” said Cochrane, who took silver in 1500-m freestyle at the London Games.
So far in 2013, Cochrane has produced a solid start earning victories in the 400-m freestyle races at both U.S. Grand Prix stops in Austin and Orlando. With a No.1 in the world rankings as the next objective, Cochrane and his coach Randy Bennett felt changes were required.
“The programming that we worked on leading to London really helped me achieve that level,” he said. “I just don’t think though that it can produce the speed to get past that level. I feel I can get that much more out myself this summer. We’ve done some great things but you can also be constantly changing to better yourself.
“This is kind of the next step.”
Four years ago at the Beijing Games where he won the bronze medal in the 1,500-m freestyle, Cochrane emerged as the new star on the Canadian team. With his steady success since, he knows expectations will be higher than ever starting with this summer’s FINA World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona.
“I know my competitors much better now than four years ago,” said Cochrane. “Back then I was really concerned with myself and what I needed to do to go faster. Now there’s a focus on my competition as well. Also with experience you gain a comfort and you’re confident as well.”
China’s Sun Yang took gold in the 1500-m in London, setting a new world record of 14:31.02. Yang was the 400-m champion at the Olympics as well. Cochrane’s 14:39.63 in the 1500 was good for silver and an Americas record. Cochrane also holds the Americas mark in 800-m (7:41.86)
The pool at worlds opens July 28 and Cochrane hopes to crack the top 3 in the 400-m freestyle on Day 1. In addition he is expected to be a gold-medal contender in the 800-m and 1500-m freestyle in Barcelona.
“This year I’m going to put a little more emphasis on the sprinting because I was disappointed in my 400-m result in London,” said Cochrane, who came ninth after missing finals by just .01 second. “I want to make sure that when I swim it on Day 1 it will be a personal best time and get the competition off to a good start.”
Cochrane’s next big event is to qualify for that world team. The World Championships Trials are April 3-6 in Victoria.