Former Vikes swimmer Cochrane wins bronze for Canada in exciting 800

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Source: Swimming Canada / Photos credit SwimmingCanada/Ian MacNicol

BARCELONA – Ryan Cochrane won Canada’s first medalin the pool Wednesday at the FINA World Championships, takingbronze in the 800-m freestyle.

Cochrane swam the race in 7:43.70, charging down American ConnorJaeger on the final 100 metres to ensure his third straight worldchampionships medal in the event.

The 24-year-old Victoria nativewon silver at the 2011 worlds in Shanghai, and bronze in 2009 inRome.

China’s Sun Yang took the gold in 7:41.36. Cochrane, whocame an agonizing fourth in the 400-m freestyle Sunday, wasout-touched by American Michael McBroom by 0.1 seconds forsilver.

“The touches aren’t my friend this meet. It was hardgetting fourth place. It’s a frustrating place to be but witha world championships anything can happen. There’s so manygreat competitors that in this 800 I think anybody had a chance atthe podium. To know I could claw my way back onto the podium isgreat and we have the 1,500 to look forward to after this,”Cochrane said.

“A very, very interesting race – five guys in it allthe way and it’s not that normal in the distance freestyle.It’s usually a two- or three-horse race but it wasinteresting – he could have been fifth,” added RandyBennett, head coach of the national team and Cochrane’s coachat the Victoria Academy of Swimming.

“It’s great racing for him to get his hand on thewall in the third place position and be aware that he had to go inthe last 100 as hard as he did, so we’ll take the medal andrun with it but you always want a little bit more.”

The medal is Canada’s fifth overall at the championships,and second in swimming. Victoria’s Eric Hedlin won a silvermedal in the 5-km open water race earlier in the two-week event,which also features water polo, diving, synchronized swimming and anew high diving discipline.

Competition continues through Sunday, with Martha McCabe ofToronto among the Canadian swimmers in action Thursday. McCabe islooking to follow up on her 2011 world championship bronze medal inthe 200-m breaststroke.

Cochrane is back in action in the 1,500-m freestyle heatsSaturday. He has back-to-back world championships silver medals inthat event, along with the 2012 Olympic silver.

“The field is getting faster and faster and I think one ofthe mistakes we made (in the 800) is playing into everybodyelse’s race tactics.,” Cochrane said. “Seeingthat the field was so even shows we were all trying hard but maybenot executing the race plans we wanted to. In the 1,500 you canhave front-end speed, back-end speed, people who have differenttechnical sides.”

Three other Canadians had evening swims Wednesday.

Audrey Lacroix and Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que. bothcompeted in the women’s 200-m butterfly semifinals. Lacroix missedthe final by just 0.05, settling for 10th with a time of 2:07.91.Lacroix, 29 and swimming in her Canadian record sixth worlds,qualified for semifinals in 10th with a heat swim of 2:09.13

“Audrey had a very good swim. When you’re a couplehundredths out of a final, it’s just unfortunate about theplace. I’m sure she’s upset and wanted to get into thebig final but she did a lot of things very well. She swam a great200 fly, she controlled herself, and she managed the race reallywell,” Bennett said.

Savard finished 15th in 2:10.42, after advancing in 14th with aheat time of 2:10.72. It’s been a busy summer for the20-year-old, who won gold in the 100-m butterfly at the SummerUniversiade in Kazan, then topped that with a Canadian record of57.31 Sunday at worlds.

“If you look at the series of swims that Katerine’sdone since Kazan, looking forward to the medley relay (on Sunday)and the World Cups, she’s really positioning herself as oneof the premier butterflyers in the world,” Bennett said.“Over the period of time she’s held up really well, sothat’s a great swim. I think we’ll get a great splitout of her in the medley relay, then we’ll look forward toher ripping it up at the short-course World Cups.”

Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., finished 14th in the 50-mbackstroke semifinals. Russell swam a 28.35 after advancing throughthe morning heats in 16th spot with a time of 28.60.

Earlier in the day, Calgary’s Joel Greenshields representedCanada in the 100-m freestyle, finishing 38th with a time of 50.54.Andrew Ford of Guelph, Ont., rounded out the morning with a 2:01.69in the 200-m individual medley, good for 23rd place.

Canada has sent a 34-member team (17 men, 17 women) to the worldchampionships. Swimming Canada’s broadcast partner Sportsnet willbe airing a one-hour highlight show all eight days of thechampionships.

For further information visit www.swimming.ca or www.bcn2013.com.

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