Cochrane Wins World Champs Silver

SHANGHAI – Island Swimming's Ryan Cochrane earned Canada’s first medal in swimming at the FINA World Aquatic Championships on Wednesday placing second in the men’s 800-metre freestyle and lowering his Canadian record.

Brent Hayden of Vancouver and Julia Wilkinson of Stratford, Ont., advanced to their respective finals in the semis.

In the men’s 800 freestyle, Yang Sun of China led at every split and took the gold in 7:38.57. Cochrane was second the whole way and grabbed the silver in 7:41.86 eclipsing his previous national mark of 7:41.92 set in a bronze medal performance at the worlds in Rome two years ago. Gergo Kis of Hungary was third in 7:44.94.

‘’The goal was to win but I’m happy to progress from the last two years,’’ said Cochrane, the Olympic bronze medallist in the 1,500 freestyle. ‘’It shows that I’m in it. I have a little more work to do to catch Sun Yang but I’m not out of it by any means.’’

Cochrane said it was an exciting experience to challenge the home crowd favourite.

‘’We race pretty similar,’’ Cochrane said. ‘’But he pulled away at the end. There are some things to work on in that area but I know I have lot left in me at the end of my race.’’

In the men’s 100 freestyle semis, Hayden clocked 48.30 less than half second off the fastest time posted by James Magnussen Australia who touched in 47.90. Hayden was 11th in the morning prelims.

‘’The first 50 in the prelims was way too slow and I knew the only way to make the final was not worry about how much that second length was going to hurt,’’ said Hayden, the 2007 world champion in the event. ‘’I took it out hard and just tried to hold on for dear life. My semi time was a lot better than I expected.’’

In the women’s 50 backstroke semis, the Victoria-based Wilkinson qualified fifth lowering her Canadian record to 28.10.

‘’It was a good swim,’’ said Canada’s head coach Randy Bennett of Victoria. ‘’She showed a lot of strength and a lot of character coming back from a rough couple of days. She’s a great competitor and it will be exciting to see what she does in the final.’’

Audrey Lacroix of Montreal was 12th in the women’s 200 butterfly semifinals. ‘’My goal was to reach the final,’’ she said. ‘’It was a very fast race but in training I showed I had the potential to get in the final.’’

Canadians in action in Thursday’s prelims are Victoria Poon of Montreal and Chantal Van Landeghem of Winnipeg in the women’s 100 freestyle; Matthew Hawes of Ottawa and Tobias Oriwol of Toronto in the men’s 200 backstroke; Scott Dickens of Vancouver and Mike Brown of Calgary in the men’s 200 breaststroke; Annamay Pierse and Martha McCabe both of Vancouver in the women’s 200 breaststroke and Canada is in the first of three heats in the women’s 4X200 freestyle relay.

Racing for Canada in that relay are Wilkinson, Samantha Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., Brittany MacLean of Etobicoke, Ont., and Barbara Jardin of Montreal. A top-12 finish would guarantee Canada an Olympic spot in the event.