Ryan Cochrane at the wall after his win in the 400m freestyle that qualified him for a spot on Team Canada this summer.

Cochrane has lots of room for improvement headed for major meets

Olympian was well off personal best during men's 1,500m

Ryan Cochrane added another national 1,500 metre title to his resume at the 2015 Team Canada Trials on Saturday night in Toronto.

Now it’s time to get faster.

The Olympian qualified for the Pan Am Games and the World Championships on Friday in the 400m freestyle, but the 1,500m is his specialty.

And the 15:01.41 he swan in Toronto will improve dramatically as the summer approaches.

“If we can all push ourselves closer to the 14:30 mark, if we can race towards that we’ll all be better,” said Cochrane, standing in the mixed zone at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. “So hopefully that means a lot of us can get under the world record or make it as competitive as possible when it comes to Rio.”

Cochrane’s personal best time and a Canadian record is a 14:39.63 that he set during a silver medal winning performance at the London Olympics. He knows even though his time is not where it needs to be, if he sticks to his training it will get there.

“After going 15:01 it sounds like a world away but because I’ve been through it so many times I think you know what it takes when you’re on the world stage,” said Cochrane.

“My results last year were good and I had a best time in my 400m and I was really happy with that, but as soon as I did that I went and looked at my race I could probably find five or six things to fix.

“I think that’s what you always do going forward and that’s how you make sure you can get those barriers and then break them.”

Despite a time over the 15-minute mark, the race was Cochrane’s to lose from start to finish, as he appeared to be alone in the pool at times. Second place finisher Kier Maitland had a time of 5:12.47 and bronze medalist Jon McKay finished in 15:22.27.

For parts of the race, Maitland, the 800m champion, and McKay fought for second and third, but neither could catch Cochrane and eventually McKay fell off pace with Maitland. That left Cochrane alone, racing the clock.

“I am very competitive so you’re either racing the clock or you’re racing someone else,” said Cochrane.

“I do prefer when I get to a world championship and you’re all vying for the spot and you can kind of push each other past either way you think is possible and so that’s what I’m looking forward to for the summer.”

With the Pan Am Games being held in Toronto this year, Cochrane will have a great warm up event in July at home to prepare for the August World Championships. This will be the first time that he will compete in a major international event in Canada.

The 2005 World Championships were held in Montreal and a 16-year-old Cochrane missed the cut to make the team by four hundredths of a second.

He believes that experience of getting that close only helped him to grow as an athlete, but he still wants that experience of competing on home soil.

“Racing at home I think is really the best that you can hope for because you do it as a Canadian, we wear the maple leaf and I’m super proud to be Canadian,” said Cochrane.

“To be able to share that with everyone is just exhilarating and I think that will be a good warm-up for the World Championships, and that’s why the double meet is hard, but also exciting to have at home.”

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