By Nathan White
KAZAN, Russia – Ryan Cochrane will be looking to add one more medal to his record total after qualifying for the 1,500-m freestyle final Saturday at FINA World Championships.
Meanwhile, backstrokers Dominique Bouchard and Hilary Caldwell will compete for medals in the women’s 200 final tonight, as will the first ever mixed freestyle relay. Three other Canadians will swim in semifinals after qualifying Saturday morning at Kazan Arena.
Cochrane’s heat swim of 14:55.96 Saturday put him through into Sunday’s final in 6th position. The 26-year-old Victoria native holds three straight silver medals in the event, as well as Olympic silver and bronze. He was more than 10 seconds faster than his gold medal time (15:06.40) from last month’s Pan American Games in Toronto.
Cochrane had to bounce back from disappointment, however, after a surprising miss Tuesday when he finished 10th in the 800-m freestyle, missing the final in another three-medal event for him.
“I was extremely disappointed in myself after the 800. Missing the 800 was not ideal, I thought it was going to be my best event. But it’s not often you get another chance to show what you’ve been training all year for. As a senior athlete, I let myself feel bad for myself for one day, then it’s on to the next thing. That’s what it’s all about,” Cochrane said. “I got a little extra rest and hopefully that will help me for the final.”
Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri was fastest in the heats at 14:51.04, followed by American Connor Jaeger at 14:53.34 and reigning world and Olympic champion Sun Yang at 14:55.11.
Yang and Cochrane will be looking to match Australian legend Grant Hackett’s all-time record of four straight medals in the 1,500. Cochrane is already the all-time Canadian leader with seven world championship medals, including 400-m bronze earlier in the meet.
In other Day 7 morning swims, both Chantal Van Landeghem of Winnipeg and Michelle Williams of Toronto advanced to tonight’s women’s 50-m freestyle semifinals.
Van Landeghem, the Canadian record holder (24.69) and bronze medallist from last year’s Pan Pacific Championships, moved through in 12th with a heat swim of 24.94. Williams, who set a personal best of 24.91 at Pan Am Games, was 14th at 25.13. Williams was sixth at Pan Ams, while Van Landeghem was fourth (24.70). Pan Am gold medallist Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of Bahamas advanced to semis here in second (24.43) behind only Australian Cate Campbell (24.40).
Rachel Nicol of Lethbridge, Alta., meanwhile, set a personal best of 30.86 in the women’s 50-m breaststroke to advance to semifinals in 11th.
“I’m happy. It’s a 50, so it’s just kind of fun and I feel like I still have more in the tank for tonight,” said Nicol, 22.
It will be the second individual semifinal for the national team rookie, who finished 11th in the 100 Monday. She also helped Canada advance its first-ever mixed medley relay to finals Wednesday, temporarily holding a Canadian record as the first team to swim the event.
“It’s definitely a learning curve. Usually four-day meets are long for me but an eight-day meet is a whole new animal,” she said of her first world championships experience. “You really have to rest, and it’s very different circumstances that you’re in than any other meet.”
In other action Saturday, the mixed 4×100-m freestyle relay made its international debut for Canada. Yuri Kisil, Karl Krug, Sandrine Mainville and Victoria Poon combined for a time of 3:27.75 to tie for seventh and advance to tonight’s final.
Calgary’s Russell Wood finished 31st in the men’s 50-m backstroke at 25.79.
Tonight’s evening session begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Sportsnet will have daily televised coverage on Sportsnet One. For more information and official results visithttp://kazan2015.com or http://www.omegatiming.com
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