Ryan Cochrane wins bronze medal in 1,500 freestyle at Olympic Games

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BEIJING – Ryan Cochrane of Victoria won a dramatic bronze medal in a close men’s 1,500-metre freestyle race on Sunday, the final day of swimming competition at the Olympic Games.

It was Canada’s first swimming medal at the Olympics since Curtis Myden won the bronze medal in the men’s 400 IM at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.It is also Canada’s first Olympic medal in the men’s 1,500 freestyle since George Vernot’s silver at the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium.

‘’I’m ecstatic,’’ said Cochrane, 19.‘’I’m so happy with the result.The final was all about racing and getting the medal is so amazing. And it was so great to have the support of the Canadian team.’’

Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia won the gold medal in 14 minutes and 40.84 seconds grabbing the lead at the 1,100 metre mark.World record holder and two-time defending Olympic champion Grant Hackett of Australia was second in 14:41.53 and Cochrane followed in 14:42.69 fending off Russian Yuriy Prilukov at the finish who clocked 14:43.21 for fourth.

Cochrane, 19, battled Hackett for the lead for two thirds of the race and the young Canadian was first from the 600-metre to the 1,000 metre splits.He said Thursday’s preliminaries, in which he set a Canadian record 14:40.84 and the first half of Saturday’s burned up a lot of energy.

‘’ I think the first half took a lot out of me for the last half. I could see Prilukov coming, and I knew he was going to have a good back end, and I just did whatever I could to hold him off

In the women’s 4X100 medley relay, Australia won the gold medal in a world record 3:52.69, the U.S., was second in 3:53.30 and China third in 3:56.11.

Canada with Julia Wilkinson of North York, Ont., Annamay Pierse of Vancouver, Audrey Lacroix of Montreal and Erica Morningstar of Calgary clocked a Canadian record 4:01.35 for seventh place.

Michael Phelps broke Mark Spitz’s 36-year-old record of seven gold medals in one Olympics, Sunday, by winning his eighth gold in the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay in a world record 3:29.34. The U.S. team of Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Jason Lezak and Phelps finished just ahead of Australia and Japan.

Sunday’s performances capped a strong showing by the 27-member Canadian team at the Games.Twenty-six national records were set, Canadians raced in 10 finals and 30 personal bests were set, a huge improvement from four years ago in Athens.

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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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