LONDON – Ryan Cochrane of Victoria is now a two-time Olympic medallist after taking the silver medal in the men’s 1,500 freestyle lowering his Canadian record to 14 minutes and 39.63 seconds.
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing he took bronze in the same event.
”I showed I’m still progressing,” said Cochrane. ”To be faster than four years ago is fantastic. I wanted to go out with a bang.”
Canada ends the Olympics in the pool with two medals. Earlier this week, Brent Hayden of Mission, B.C., took the bronze in the men’s 100 freestyle.
In Saturday’s 1,500, Yang Sun of China won the gold medal in a world record 14:31.02, more than 8.5 seconds ahead of Cochrane. Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia took the bronze in 14:40.31.
”I knew I needed to be out hard and I knew I needed to draw on my strengths instead of other peoples,” said Cochrane. ”When I was feeling good around the 750 mark I knew it was time to go and test the waters every 100-150 meters, and I still felt great.”
There was a bizarre beginning to the race, when Sun initially dove into the water before the starters gun went off. In swimming, a false start is an automatic disqualification however Sun was given a second opportunity in the restart.
”I assumed he wouldn’t be out by the way he just fell in the water,” said Cochrane. ”It’s such a little thing in the grand scheme. It’s still going to be 15 minutes of pain no matter what. I think my experience helps. When I was younger something like may have had an effect.”
In the last event of the Games for swimming, Canada was eighth in the men’s 4X100 medley relay. Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que., Scott Dickens of Burlington, Ont., Joe Bartoch of London, Ont., and Brent Hayden of Mission, B.C., clocked 3:34.19.
The U.S., won the gold medal in 3:29.35 as Michael Phelps collected a 22nd Olympic medal in his career and 18th gold. Japan was second in 3:31.26 and Australia third in 3:31.58.
”Just making the final was extraordinary,” said Francis. ”It was really special swimming with these three veterans. Being at these Games has given me the urge to continue for four more years.”