RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Ryan Cochrane earned a chance for a third Olympic medal in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle final, while the women’s 4×100-m medley relay put down the second-fastest semifinal time on Friday.
Chantal Van Landeghem (HPC – Ontario / Winnipeg) advanced to the women’s 50-m freestyle semifinals. The strong performances bring Canada up to 13 finalists in advance of Hilary Caldwell (Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Victoria / White Rock, B.C.) having a middle lane for the women’s 200-metre backstroke at 9:03 p.m. EDT at the Olympic Aquatics Centre. Caldwell will be in Lane 5 next to gold medal favourite Katinka Hosszú of Hungary.
The medley relay final is on Saturday. Cochrane (HPC – Victoria / Victoria) has his final on Saturday, the final day of pool swimming at Rio 2016.
Friday, Cochrane had the seventh-fastest time of 14 minutes 53.44 seconds. Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri was the most efficient at 14:44.51.
“The event is getting faster every year,” Cochrane, 27, said. “I remember a few years ago just getting under 15 minutes in the heats would have easily got you into the final. I’ve had the goal to make the podium since the London games and I’ll do everything in my power to get there again.”
In the medley relay, an effort of 3:56.80 from Kylie Masse (Windsor Essex Swim Team / LaSalle, Ont.), Rachel Nicol (Lethbridge Amateur Swim Club / Lethbridge, Alta.), Noemie Thomas (HPC – Vancouver / Richmond, B.C.) and Taylor Ruck (Kelowna, B.C.) earned Canada a middle lane in the final. The time, which was exceeded only by the United States’ 3:54.67, is a Canadian record and Masse’s 58.66-second leadoff leg is also a Canadian 100-m backstroke record.
Van Landeghem tied for eighth in heats with a 24.57-second 50-m freestyle. The Winnipegger said she motivated by watching HPC – Ontario training partner Penny Oleksiak grab gold in 100-m freestyle on Thursday to become, at age 16, the first Canadian to earn four medals in a single Summer Games.
“I just wanted to come out and have fun and put my best foot forward,” Van Landeghem said. “It felt good. Hopefully I can be quicker tonight.
“I JUST WANTED TO COME OUT AND HAVE FUN AND PUT MY BEST FOOT FORWARD,” VAN LANDEGHEM SAID. “IT FELT GOOD. HOPEFULLY I CAN BE QUICKER TONIGHT.
“I had so much inspiration [Thursday] night watching Penny and it made me want to come in and throw down a good time. We were all watching in the [Athletes] Village and there were so many tears, so much adrenaline. We were so happy for her, she’s totally deserving.”
Van Landeghem tied for eighth in heats with a 24.57-second 50-m freestyle.
Michelle Williams was one-10th of a second from the cut-off to make the semis. Williams, who provided an example of perseverance paying off when she made her first senior national team at age 23 in 2014, came in at 24.91 to tie for 18th among 88 entries.
The men’s medley relay of Javier Acevedo (Markham Aquatic Club / Scarborough, Ont.), Jason Block (University of Calgary Swim Club / Calgary), Mack Darragh (Oakville Aquatic Club / Mississauga) and Yuri Kisil (HPC – Vancouver / Calgary). was 16th in the semifinals in 3:36.92. The team had to adapt with Condorelli, who handled the butterfly leg in April at the Canadian Olympic & Para-swimming Trials when the relay earned one of the final four Olympic berths.