GLASGOW, Scotland – Victoria’s Ryan Cochrane put himself in position to repeat as gold medallist in the 400-metre freestyle as the Commonwealth Games got underway Thursday in Glasgow, Scotland.
Cochrane was one of six Canadians to advance to individual finals Thursday, with a time of 3:46.62. Only Australia’s David McKeon was faster heading into tonight’s finals, which get underway at 2 p.m.
The two-time Olympic medallist was cautiously optimistic about his chances against McKeon and other tough contenders such as Australian Mack Horton and Scottish favourite Stephen Milne.
“I was lucky enough at the last Commonwealth Games that I didn’t have that target on my back (as defending champion),” said Cochrane, who trains at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Victoria. “It’s a bit of mixed feelings because it’s nice to be able to get medals and represent your country but it makes it a little more difficult when there’s more pressure. It’s a good swim under my belt and it’s going to be a hard-fought one tonight.”
Canada will also be well-represented on the women’s side. Three Canadians advanced to the final of the women’s 400-m individual medley, led by Emily Overholt of West Vancouver. Overholt dropped more than two seconds from her personal best, advancing in third place at 4:39.52.
The 16-year-old is the youngest member of the Canadian swim team and making her senior international debut.
“It felt pretty good, I’m really happy with my best time in the morning. Hopefully I’ll lower that tonight,” Overholt said. “I’m nervous but I think it will be pretty exciting with the crowd.”
Ottawa’s Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson of the High Performance Centre – Vancouver (5th, 4:41.77) and Marni Oldershaw of Oakville, Ont., (8th, 4:48.89) also advanced.
In the women’s 200-m freestyle, Brittany MacLean was the top Canadian, advancing in fifth spot with a time of 1:57.75.
“That’s just off my best and it was my fastest time in the morning by far,” MacLean said. “There were lots of details that I wasn’t really happy with in the race so I’m just looking to improve on those and hopefully make a performance people can get excited about.”
National team veteran Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., (7th, 1:58.61) will join MacLean in the final.
Meanwhile, the women’s 4×100-m freestyle relay team of Victoria Poon, Sandrine Mainville, Michelle Williams and Alyson Ackman advanced easily, grabbing the third seed with a time of 3:41.40.
Shorter distance events also got underway Thursday, with several Canadians advancing to semifinals, led by Katerine Savard of Pont-Rouge, Que. Savard sits second in the women’s 100-m butterfly (58.13) and will be joined by fellow Pont-Rouge native Audrey Lacroix (9th, 59.14) in semifinal action. Russell Wood of Calgary advanced in seventh spot in the men’s 100-m backstroke (54.83).
Advancing in stroke 50s were Tera Van Beilen (7th in women’s 50-m breaststroke, 31.31) and Coleman Allen (10th in men’s 50-m butterfly, 24.25) of the High Performance Centre – Vancouver and Gamal Assaad of Oakville (13th in men’s 50 fly, 24.66).
Edmonton’s Richard Funk swam a personal best of 2:12.56 in the men’s 200-m breaststroke, but fell short of the final, finishing 10th, one spot ahead of Oakville’s Evan White.
For complete results visit http://results.glasgow2014.com/dailyschedule.html