VICTORIA – Ryan Cochrane of Victoria smashed the Canadian short course record in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle on Sunday night at the Speedo Western Championships swimming competition.
Cochrane, 19, clocked 14:35.73, the fifth fastest time in the world this year, to eclipse the previous mark of 14:50.04 set by Kurtis MacGillivary of Waterloo, Ont., in 2003. Cochrane’s coach Randy Bennett wasn’t totally surprised to see his star pupil lower the record.
‘’It was an absolutely fantastic swim but truly this is the level he is at right now,’’ said Bennett. ‘’ I was expecting he would go around 14:43 on Sunday. I knew he was as good as he ever has been and he has the capacity to swim pretty fast while he is in hard training.’’
Bennett said Cochrane’s swim Sunday was relentless.
‘’He was just on it and had the intention of breaking the record,’’ said Bennett.
Cochrane is a finalist for junior athlete of the year at next month’s Canadian Sport Awards. He is already a Commonwealth Games and world championship finalist. Last summer he was the first Canadian to clock a sub 15 minute time in the 1,500 in the long course pool, joining an exclusive group of only 21 swimmers to have broken the barrier.
At the CN Swimming Trials, to determine the Olympic team, he’ll be a threat not only in the 1,500 but 200 and 400 freestyles as well.
It was also a big weekend for Erica Morningstar of Calgary who completed a magnificent performance at earning a fifth gold medal with a victory in the women’s 200-metre freestyle.
Morningstar clocked 1:56.20 just 0.06 seconds off the Canadian mark held by Sophie Simard of Quebec City since 2006. Melanie Nocher of Northern Ireland was second in 1:59.31 and junior Alexandra Gabor of Whitehorse was third in 1:59.96.
It was a memorable week for Morningstar. She also won gold in the 50 and 100 freestyles, 200 individual medley and 50 breaststroke. She broke two of the oldest national records in the books. The 200 IM mark, lowered Friday, dated from 1993 and the 50 breaststroke, eclipsed Saturday, had lingered since 1990.
Other winners in women’s competition Sunday were Hilary Caldwell of Surrey, B.C., in the 50 backstroke, Lisa Blackburn of Winnipeg in the 100 breaststroke and Brenna Maclean of West Vancouver in the 100 butterfly.
On the men’s side, Adam Sioui collected a fourth gold with the victory in the 100 butterfly in 52.73 on Sunday to complete a sweep of the three butterfly events in addition to his 100 freestyle.
Mike Brown of Calgary completed a breaststroke sweep taking the 100-metre race to add to his 50 and 200-metre wins in the event.
Matt Rose of Victoria was a third time winner prevailing in the 50 backstroke. He also took the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Chad Murray of Calgary swept both IM’s with Sunday’s 400 win and Rick Say of Calgary took the 200 freestyle.
Sunday’s results at the Speedo Western Championships swimming competition
50 backstroke: 1. Matt Rose, Victoria, 25.09; 2. Adam Sioui, Calgary, 25.62; 3. Alexander Johnson, Winnipeg, 26.56.
100 breaststroke: 1. Mike Brown, Calgary, 1:01.65; 2. Sean Nugent, Burnaby, B.C., 1:02.44; 3. Michael Cai, New Westminster, B.C., 1:02.89.
100 butterfly: 1. Adam Sioui, Calgary, 52.73; 2. Stefan Hirniak, Victoria, 54.21; 3. Chad Murray, Calgary, 55.32.
200 freestyle: 1. Rick Say, Victoria, 1:45.56; 2. Adam Sioui, Calgary, 1:46.52; 3. Stefan Hirniak, Victoria, 1:47.12.
400 individual medley: 1. Chad Murray, Calgary, 4:21.87; 2. Michael Cai, New Westminster, B.C., 4:24.37; 3. David Dimitrov, Calgary, 4:25.07.
50 backstroke: 1. Hilary Caldwell, Surrey, B.C., 29.35; 2. Melanie Nocher, Northern Ireland, 29.44; 3. Caitlin Meredith, Vancouver, 29.48.
100 breaststroke: 1. Lisa Blackburn, Winnipeg, 1:08.93; 2. Bronwyn Pasloski, Whitehorse, 1:09.44; 3. Chelsey Salli, Langley, B.C., 1:10.05.
100 butterfly: 1. Brenna Maclean, West Vancouver, 1:00.74; 2. Kendra Chernoff, Saskatoon, 1:01.08; 3. Magwye Herring, Winnipeg, 1:02.17.
200 freestyle: 1. Erica Morningstar, Calgary, 1:56.20; 2. Melanie Nocher, Northern Ireland, 1:59.31; 3. Alexandra Gabor, Whitehorse, 1:59.96.
400 individual medley: 1. Michelle Landry, Vancouver, 4:48.20; 2. Jessica Johnson, Calgary, 4:51.08; 3. Shelbi Snodgrass, Calgary, 4:52.75.