Cochrane Wins Canada's First Gold at Commonwealth Games

Island Swimming's Ryan Cochrane won Canada's first gold medal of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, taking the Men's 400m Free race on Monday evening in Delhi, India.

His Island Swimming teammates, Julia Wilkinson and Stefan Hirniak each won bronze medals, with Wilkinson's coming in 200 IM and Hirniak's in 200 Fly.

For Hirniak and Wilkinson, it was their first international medals, while Cochrane has medaled at Olympics and World Championships.

In the men’s 400 freestyle, Cochrane clocked three minutes and 48.48 seconds edging Ryan Napoleon of Australia second in 3:48.59.  David Carry of Scotland was third in 3:50.06.

‘’It’s great to get the competition off this way,’’ said Cochrane.  ‘’I didn’t feel as good as I wanted but at this time of year it’s all about the racing. The 400 is one of those events where I'm still learning. Each time I swim it, it's different."

Video of the race is available here:

In the women’s 200 IM, Australians took the top-two spots with Alicia Coutts earning the gold in a Games record 2:09.70, Emily Seebohm second in 2:10.83 and Wilkinson third in 2:12.09.

‘’My swim in the preliminaries was awful and I knew I had to do better,’’ said Wilkinson, now based in Victoria.  ‘’I decided in the final to just do what I do best and that’s race.  I tried not to think about the outcome and raced as if I was 12-years-old again.’’

In the men’s 200 butterfly, Chad Le Clos of South Africa was the winner in a Games record 1:56.48, Michael Rock of England second in 1:57.15 and Hirniak took third in 1:57.26.  In the morning prelims, Hirniak clocked first lowering his Canadian record to 1:57.01.  His mark entering the Games was 1:57.31 set in August at the Pan Pacific Championships.

‘’I was slower in the final but my goal was to get on the podium,’’ said Hirniak.  ‘’We have a world class training environment in Victoria under Randy and we’re showing here the program is successful.’’

Other Canadian results for the women: Geneviève Saumur of Montreal was fourth in the 200 freestyle missing a berth on the podium by 0.03 seconds while Barbara Jardin of Montreal was eighth.  Advancing to finals from Monday’s semis were Katerine Savard of Quebec City and MacKenzie  Downing of Whitehorse qualifying fifth and seventh in the 50 butterfly and Annamay Pierse of Vancouver qualifying sixth in the 50 breaststroke. 

‘’I thought I did a great job overall,’’ said Saumur.  ‘’I did my own race but in the end it wasn’t the result I wanted.’’

For the men, Canada was fourth in the 4X100 freestyle relay with Brent Hayden of Vancouver, Hirniak, Brian Johns of Vancouver and Blake Worsley of Victoria.  Hayden`s lead-off time of 48.18 was a Games record for the 100 freestyle.   In the semis, Charles Francis of Montreal qualified eighth for the 50 backstroke final.

Full results available at: