Cochrane has eye on prize at Rio Games
Canadian swimmer Ryan Cochrane admits that in the past he might have been searching for a level of perfection that wasn’t there.
He won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and added silver four years later in London. Cochrane is using a new approach this season as he tries to finally get to the top step of the Olympic podium.
“It’s almost a Zen-like attitude,” he said. “It’s not about blood in the water and having to attack these things. It’s just trusting in yourself that you’ve done the work and I know I have.”
Cochrane has reached the podium eight times (four silver, four bronze) at the world championships — a Canadian record. He has won gold at the Commonwealth Games, Pan Pacific Games and the Pan Am Games but world and Olympic titles have remained elusive.
“In 2012, I felt like I was talking myself into being able to win,” Cochrane said. “In the back of my mind, I was just a little too far off of probably being able to do that. This time around, I’ve surprised myself that at 27 years old I’m still getting best times in practice.
“Ten years on, to still be progress- ing, I think is a best-case scenario obviously. It really, I think, can only mean good things for Rio.”
First up is this week’s Olympic Trials at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Cochrane won gold here last summer in the 1,500-me- tre freestyle and the 400 free.
This will likely be the last Olympics for the Victoria swimmer. He made his international debut with the senior team a decade ago.
“I know how badly he wants that Olympic gold,” said friend and teammate Hilary Caldwell. “But he’s been in the top two or three in the world for eight or nine years now. That’s pretty incredible.”
Other top swimmers to watch this week include Caldwell and West Vancouver’s Emily Overholt.
Caldwell, from Victoria, won world bronze in the 200-metre backstroke in 2013 while Overholt finished third in the 400 IM at last year’s world championship.
Aurelie Rivard and Benoit Huot headline the list of competitors in the para-swimming trials.
Rivard won six gold medals at the Parapan Am Games last year while Huot is a 19-time Paralympic medallist.
Competition begins Tuesday and continues through Sunday. The Rio Games begin Aug. 5.