Virden’s Drew Cochrane will go into the toughest swimming competition of his life next week, but he feels ready for it.
Cochrane, a member of the Brandon Bluefins Swim Club, is off to Calgary to compete in the Canadian Age Group Swimming Championships, which run from Wednesday through to July 29. This is the first national championship Cochrane has ever taken part in and he’s looking forward to the competition.
“I’m really excited. I’m nervous but excited,” said Cochrane, who is the lone Bluefins swimmer to qualify for nationals this year. “I’d just really like to see how well I can do. It will be the peak of my season and I’ve been training for it, so it will be neat to see what comes out of it.”
Cochrane will compete in five events — the 50-metre breaststroke, 50m and 100m butterfly and the 50m and 100m freestyle. He qualified to compete at nationals in March when he achieved national time standards in the 50m breaststroke and 50m butterfly. He was allowed bonus swims in up to three other events and chose to participate in the other three since he was only milliseconds off from their qualifying standards times.
With this being his first national competition, there aren’t high expectations for Cochrane to finish on the podium. However, Malcolm McKinney, a Bluefins coach who will be travelling with Cochrane to Calgary, stills wants to see the 16-year-old swimmer excel.
“I think that Drew stands a good chance of getting some (personal) best performances at nationals,” he said. “Where that places him in comparison to other swimmers in his age group remains yet to be seen. We are talking about age groupers from across the country now and the fact that he’s qualified for a number of events is great.
“It’s his first nationals, so what I look for is if he’s able to achieve (personal) best performances in a couple events, that would be great for a first appearance at nationals. It’s a step up and the first time around. He is mentally calm when it comes to competitions, so that should allow him to perform to his best level.”
McKinney believes the key to Cochrane’s success will be for him to remain calm and stay focused. However, that could be a little easier said than done.
Cochrane is a huge fan of American swimmers Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps and they will be competing head-to-head at the London Olympics the same days that Cochrane is swimming in Calgary.
Cochrane, who didn’t medal at last week’s ManSask meet, isn’t sure how he’ll balance keeping tabs on the Olympics and staying focused on his own swims, but he doesn’t think he’ll be alone in wanting to keep an eye on what’s happening at the Olympics.
“It’s going to be tough, but there will be a whole bunch of swimmers there watching it and trying to figure out what’s going on,” he said. “I find (Phelps and Lochte) are really neat people. They really dedicate themselves to the sport. They’re really the peak of the sport and it’s neat to see what they do.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 21, 2012