Cochrane Advances, Pickrem Sets New CDN Record at Worlds

KAZAN, Russia – Ryan Cochrane (HPC - Victoria/ISC) and both 4×100-m freestyle relays will be swimming for medals tonight at FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Meanwhile, Sydney Pickrem broke her own Canadian record in the 200-m individual medley to put herself among the five Canadians advancing to tonight’s semifinals.

Day 1 of the eight-day meet got underway Sunday at the Kazan Arena. An individual highlight came from Pickrem, who shaved 0.22 seconds off her national mark from Pan Am Games with a 200-m IM heat of 2:10.94. That moved her into tonight’s semifinal in fourth position. Hungary’s “Iron Lady” Katinka Hosszu holds top seed after setting a European record of 2:07.30 in the morning.

“I’m definitely happy with it. It’s hard to do a best time in the morning so I’m trying to improve on that. It’s definitely something I’ve been working on so it will be good tonight to try and go a bit better and get in the final,” Pickrem said.

Both 4×100-m freestyle relays advanced to finals to wrap up the morning. The women’s team of Sandrine Mainville, Michelle Williams, Victoria Poon and Chantal Van Landeghem sits fifth with a time of 3:37.64. The men (Santo Condorelli, Karl Krug, Evan Van Moerkerke, Yuri Kisil moved on in 6th at 3:15.00.

“It was a solid swim for us,” Condorelli said. “We’re a little bit slower (Canada went 3:14.32 to take silver at Pan Am Games) but it’s OK. The boys put their best foot forward, that’s all we can ask from them so I’m happy.”

Russia had the fastest men’s relay in the morning at 3:12.46, while USA paced the women’s field at 3:35.52. The Americans, however, missed the men’s final in 11th (3:16.01). Australia was 13th at 3:16.34.

Cochrane, who trains at the Swimming Canada High Performance Centre – Victoria, advanced in third position through the men’s 400-m freestyle heats with a time of 3:45.86. The fourth-place finisher in 2013, Cochrane will go head-to-head with Chinese rival Sun Yang (1st, 3:44.99) in tonight’s final, as he seeks his first world championships medal in the shorter distance. Cochrane’s specialties, the 800-m and 1,500-m freestyle, come later in the eight-day meet, his fifth worlds.

Two other Canadian women advanced to semifinals in the 100-m butterfly. Canadian record holder Katerine Savard of Montreal’s CAMO club swam a heat of 57.96, good for fifth seed. Noemie Thomas (UBCDS) of Richmond, B.C., sits 12th after a morning swim of 58.35. Both were finalists at the 2013 worlds in Barcelona. Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom sits first at 56.47.

Two men moved on in individual events as well. Edmonton’s Richard Funk tied for 14th in the men’s 100-m breaststroke with a personal best of 1:00.26. Condorelli moved through into semifinals of the men’s 50-m butterfly in 15th with a personal best of 23.67 in the morning.

Meanwhile, Emily Overholt (HPC - Vancouver/WVOSC) of West Vancouver was 22nd in the women’s 400-m freestyle with a time of 4:14.45. Jeremy Bagshaw (ISC) of Victoria’s Island Swimming finished 23rd in the men’s 400 at 3:50.54.

Sportsnet will have daily televised coverage of finals beginning Sunday at 11 p.m. ET on Sportsnet One.

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