“I’m continuously grateful to have been able to represent Canada over the last 12 years,” the two-time Olympic medallist said. “It was a thrilling and humbling adventure that I had dreamed about for as long as I can remember.
“I always wanted to be an Olympian and it still seems unbelievable to me that I was able to realize that goal. No matter where in the world we were competing, I always felt thankful to be able to represent our nation, and always wanted to make Canadians proud.”
While Cochrane’s time with the Vikes may have been short, the native of Victoria certainly made an impact in his time here.
In 2011, three years after his first Olympic appearance, Cochrane was named both the CIS Rookie of the Year and Swimmer of the Year after an outstanding performance at the CIS National Championships.
Cochrane captured gold in the men’s 1500-metre freestyle, 400-metre freestyle and 200-metre freestyle races. He also won bronze in the men’s 400-metre IM while guiding the UVic men to a fifth-place team finish.
“It’s a completely different environment, you’ve got an awesome level of support here between all teammates,” said Cochrane after the CIS Championships in 2011. “The camaraderie here between all of us was good, and it’s great for the sport to have the place packed with a loud crowd.
“It was a really good environment to swim in, especially when you’re standing on the box for relays.”
Capturing bronze in the 1500-metre freestyle at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Cochrane then went on to compete in 12 straight major international championships, while also winning a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012.
Finishing his career with the Rio Olympics in 2016: Cochrane, who holds the record for the most long-course World Championship medals by any Canadian, has seen the Canadian swimming team grow exponentially in his time with the program.
Cochrane won the only Canadian medal in Beijing, and in his final Olympics the Canadian team won six.
“Before I even thought about making national teams, Ryan was my inspiration,” said quadruple Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak. “He was not only Canada’s most successful swimmer, but he always seemed to achieve his results with a smile and always had time for the younger athletes…I can never thank Ryan enough for all he has done for me and the sport.”