Ryan Cochrane qualifies second for final with record 1,500 freestyle swim

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BEIJING – Ryan Cochrane of Victoria held the Olympic record briefly and qualified second in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle in Friday’s preliminary session in swimming at the Olympic Games. Canada also qualified for the final in the women’s 4X100 medley relay in national record time.
In the men’s 1,500 freestyle, two-time defending champion Grant Hackett of Australia was the top qualifier as he reclaimed the Olympic mark from Cochrane clocking 14 minutes and 38.92 seconds in the final heat, only four seconds off his world record set in 2001.

Cochrane, 19, continued his amazing progress in the event smashing his Canadian record by 10 seconds to 14:40.84 seconds after a tight battle with Yuriy Prilukov of Russia in the third heat. The time was an Olympic record for about 30 minutes as he had lowered Hackett’s time of 14:43.40 set at the 2004 Athens Games.
It was also, at that point, the second fastest 1,500 freestyle of all time. It’s the fourth time since January 2007, that Cochrane has lowered the national mark and it’s the first Olympic record by a Canadian swimmer since Mark Tewksbury’s golden performance in the 100 backstroke at the 1992 Games.
In the women’s 4×100 medley relay, Canada with Julia Wilkinson of North York, Ont., Annamay Pierse of Vancouver, Audrey Lacroix of Montreal and Erica Morningstar of Calgary was eighth in qualifying to gain the last spot final. They clocked 4:02.13 to better the previous national mark of 4:04.52 set last year.
In the women’s 50 freestyle preliminaries, Victoria Poon of Montreal, who is overcoming a bout with the chicken pox took 30th spot.
“I’m so happy to have been able to stand on the blocks and race for the Candian Olympic Swim Team, said Poon, a Hong Kong native. ‘’When I first learned that I had the chicken pox and had to miss the relay on the first day, I was pretty shocked. I was determined to keep focused and race the 50 free. Four days of rest was the best taper I have ever had.”
The 1,500 freestyle and medley relay finals are on Sunday morning (Saturday evening in Canada).

Full results at: http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRM/ENG/Schedule/SW.shtml

More information

In Beijing:
Martin Richard
Director of Communications
Directeur des communications
Swimming Canada
Beijing Mobile +86 150 0772 4307

In Canada
Erin Sulpher
Communications Coordinator
Swimming Canada
Tel: 613- 260- 1348 (ext. 2001)
Cell: (613) 299-1124
E-mail: esulpher@swimming.ca

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