Former University of Victoria Vikes swimmers Richard Weinberger, Eric Hedlin, Hilary Caldwell and Ryan Cochrane competed at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazaan, Russia. Leading the pack was two-time Olympian Cochrane who captured two bronze medals to bring his all-time total to eight, a Canadian record.
The FINA World Championships started off with the open-water events with Olympian Richard Weinberger and Eric Hedlin joining each other in the 10-km competition. Weinberger swam a time of 1:50.19.9 to finish in the top eight while Hedlin finished the event in 56th place with a time of 1:56.52.3. Although not official, Weinberger’s eight-place finish likely qualified him for the 2016 Rio Olympics, as he is the only swimmer Canada can use for the event.
Hilary Caldwell who set a new Pan Am record and won a gold in the 200-m backstroke was also present. However, she was battling a stomach bug and was not able to repeat a similar outcome. Caldwell swam a time of 2:08.99 to finish in sixth place.
Cochrane maintained his Pan Am form, capturing two bronze medals for Canada to add to his all-time tally of eight, which is the most in Canadian history. His first medal came in the 400-m, where he touched the wall in 3:44.59 to finish in third behind China’s Sun Yang and Great Britain’s James Guy. It was his first ever 400-m medal at the world championships.
Cochrane then wrapped up the competition with another bronze medal in the 1500-m freestyle. He finished the race in a time of 14:51.08 behind Italian swimmer Gregorio Paltrinieri and Connor Jaeger of USA. Managing to capture a medal for the fourth straight time in the 1500-m event at the Worlds, Cochrane joins Australia Grant Hackett in becoming one of only two athletes to accomplish this feat.
With competitions wrapped up, Canadian swimmers captured a total of four silver and four bronze medals at the Championships. With less than a year until the Rio 2016 Olympics, the swimmers will now look to qualifying for the world’s biggest sporting spectacle.
Men’s 10-km open
Richard Weinberger (8th, 1:50.19.9)
Eric Hedlin (56th, 1:56.52.3)
Women’s 200-m backstroke
Hilary Caldwell (6th, 2:08.99)
Men’s 400-m freestyle
Ryan Cochrane (Bronze, 3:44.59)
Men’s 1500-m freestyle
Ryan Cochrane (Bronze, 14:51.08)