swim canada-2

Nathan White

August 3, 2013, BARCELONA (ISN) – Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane has taken another step on his quest to become Canada’s most decorated swimmer ever at FINA World Championships.

The 24-year-old advanced easily through his 1,500-metre freestyle heat Saturday morning in Barcelona with a time of 14:55.15. Cochrane will enter Sunday’s final in second position as he attempts to become the first Canadian to ever win six medals at worlds. Only China’s Sun Yang (14:54.65) was faster in preliminaries. Yang and Cochrane went 1-2 in this event at the 2011 worlds in Shanghai and the 2012 Olympics in London, while Cochrane beat him out for silver at the 2009 worlds in Rome.

On Wednesday Cochrane became the first swimmer from Canada to win five individual world championships medals when he captured bronze in the 800-m freestyle to surpass Victor Davis’s total of four. Only recently retired Brent Hayden has ever won five medals – including three in relays – at worlds.

“It’s a humbling experience just to be able to win a medal at a world championships. The fact that I’ve been able to come back year after year and do the same is something that I’m really proud of,” Cochrane said. “I always want to represent myself the best I can but I also want to wear the Maple Leaf with pride. I’m still vying for that top spot, I still want to hear O Canada and that’s what continues to drive me year after year.”

While Cochrane has to wait a day for his final, two Canadian women will be swimming for medals Saturday. Hilary Caldwell, Cochrane’s teammate at the Victoria Academy of Swimming, enters the 200-m backstroke final ranked second after breaking the Canadian record twice Friday. She will be joined by the previous record-holder, Sinead Russell of Burlington, Ont., who qualified for the final in eighth spot.

Also set to swim in the evening after advancing through morning heats are women’s 50-m freestylers Chantal van Landeghem of Winnipeg and Victoria Poon of Montreal. Van Landeghem turned in a personal best time of 24.89, good for sixth position, while Poon qualified in 10th at 25.01. Both will swim in semifinals at tonight’s evening session, which begins at noon ET.

Canada has sent a 34-member team (17 men, 17 women) to the world championships, which wrap up Sunday. Swimming Canada’s broadcast partner Sportsnet is airing a one-hour highlight show all eight days of the championships.

Will Brothers, who trains with Cochrane at the Victoria Academy of Swimming, also swam the 1,500-m freestyle heats, finishing 25th at 15:24.74. The other Canadian swimmers in action Saturday morning were Charles Francis of Cowansville, Que., who finished 24th in the men’s 50-m backstroke (26.10) and Tera Van Beilen of Oakville, Ont., who was 30th in the women’s 50-m breaststroke (32.03). Van Beilen’s heat featured a world record of 29.78 by Russian Yuliya Efimova.

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