Ryan Cochrane stamps his ticket to worlds and Pan Am Games

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TORONTO – Two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane locked up a berth for the world championships and Pan Am Games this summer with a victory in the men’s 400-m freestyle Friday at the 2015 Team Canada Trials in swimming.

Competitors are battling for spots on the Canadian teams for the Pan Am Games in Toronto July 10-26 and the FINA World Championships July 24-August 9 in Kazan, Russia.

Cochrane clocked three minutes and 47.50 seconds for the fifth-fastest time in the world this year. He fended off a strong challenge from fellow Victorian Jeremy Bagshaw, second in 3:49.76. Bagshaw, already qualified for the worlds and Pan Ams in his 200 freestyle victory Wednesday, met the Pan Am standard again and secondary worlds standard in the 400 free. He is the fourth Canadian to swim under the 3:50 mark.

‘’We’re going through one of the hardest years of training,’’ said Cochrane, who will race his signature 1,500-m freestyle on Saturday. ‘’There’s been a lot of ups and downs but still it’s been an awesome week of swimming. It’s super inspiring to see how well the younger swimmers are performing.’

In the women’s 100-m butterfly Noemie Thomas of Richmond, B.C., added her name to the worlds and Pan Am Games team list. Thomas out-touched Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que., 58.17 to 58.18. Both went under the primary standard for worlds.

‘’It was the last couple of strokes that made the difference for me,’’ said Thomas. ‘’I just wanted to make the team so bad. After missing the cut last year it was great to come back and validate what I’ve been doing all season.’’

In the women’s 200-m backstroke, Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont., and Hilary Caldwell of White Rock, B.C., repeated their exploit from Wednesday’s 100 back finishing 1-2 and under the standards for the worlds and Pan Ams.

‘’I wasn’t happy with that time,’’ said Bouchard, first in 2:09.05. “But it is awesome to be on the teams. I expect to be way faster at those events.’’

Caldwell, a world championship medallist in 2013, was nearly three seconds off her Canadian record time finishing in 2:09.53.

‘’In the end all I needed was to get on the teams,’’ she said. ‘’But I definitely wanted to be a lot faster here.’’

Russell Wood of Calgary completed a golden sweep of the backstroke events with a victory in the men’s 200-m race in 1:59.18. That bettered the Pan Am qualifying time and capped a strong meet for the 20-year-old. He broke the 50-m national mark on Thursday, neared the Canadian record in the 100-m on Wednesday and all three winning times were personal bests.

‘’It’s been awesome,’’ said Wood. ‘’It is definitely by far the best meet of my career. For me right now the sky’s the limit and I’m getting back into training to go even faster this summer.’’

Seventeen-year-old Emily Overholt of West Vancouver took the 400-m freestyle in a personal best 4:10.07. Already qualified for the world championships and Pan Am Games, it was her second victory of the competition and third medal. Fourth place finisher Taylor Ruck broke Shannon Smith’s national age group record for 13-14 year-olds, which had stood since the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

Richard Funk of Edmonton and Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., won the 50-m breaststrokes.

Competition ends Saturday. Morning heats begin at 10 a.m. with the evening finals at 6 p.m. The Pan Am Games and World Championship teams will be nominated following the final races, along with teams for the FISU Summer Universiade and FINA World Junior Championships.

This week’s competition also serves as one of the test events for the upcoming Toronto 2015 Pan American Games that run from July 10-26.

For more information on the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, visit www.toronto2015.org

The next round of TORONTO 2015 Pan Am tickets will go on sale April 16.

Live results are available at https://www.swimming.ca/liveresults/2015cantrials/

Live webcast is available at: http://www.swimming.ca/2015TeamCanadaTrials

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