VICTORIA - Ryan Cochrane (ISC) has been named Swimming Canada’s OMEGA Male Swimmer of the Year for the seventh straight time, as he continued his remarkably consistent run among the world’s swimming elite in 2014.
The annual award recognizes the best performance by a Canadian male swimmer at the premier international meet(s) of the year. Cochrane’s win was announced Wednesday on Victoria radio station CFAX and in the Victoria Times-Colonist as part of Swimming Canada’s Big Splash Awards Week.
“It’s awesome and humbling,” Cochrane told the Times-Colonist. “I began on the national team by leading by example. Now I’m more of a vocal leader.”
This year’s premier international meets were the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia.
Cochrane, 25, certainly led by example at both meets, opening the Commonwealth Games by defending his 400-metre freestyle title for Canada’s first gold medal. He went on to repeat as a double champion, winning his second straight 1,500-m gold as Canadians rode a four-medal wave on the final day of pool competition.
Then despite the grueling travel schedule, Cochrane once again came to compete at the Pan Pacs. He grabbed a silver in the 1,500 on the opening day, and finished his summer with gold in the 800. It was Canada’s only gold of the competition and once again highlighted a four-medal final day.
The two-time Olympic medallist ranked in the top three in the world in all three distances – 400, 800 and his signature 1,500 – in 2014.
Randy Bennett, Cochrane’s coach at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Victoria, will also be recognized as the OMEGA Coach of the Year (Male Swimmer).
Bennett, Cochrane, and his HPC-Victoria training partner Hilary Caldwell (PSW) are gearing up for the 2014 FINA World Championships (25m). The world short-course championships begin next Wednesday in Doha, Qatar.
Awards are being announced through a variety of media each day of the week-long celebration of the best in Canadian swimming. Breakfast Television Toronto will reveal the next Big Splash winner Thursday.
Nathan Stein (SKSC) was named Team Aquatic Supplies Male Para-swimmer of the Year earlier in the week. The OMEGA Female Swimmer of the Year and Team Aquatic Supplies Female Para-swimmer of the Year are yet to come.