After their success in London, swimmer Ryan Cochrane and diver Emilie Heymans received a fathom of recognition by their countrymen for putting their respective sports on their backs.
Cochrane (24) was chosen by Aquatics Canada as the Male Athlete of the Year following his silver medal performance in the 1500m Freestyle at this summer’s Olympic Games. He has been a member of the Canadian national team since his first appearance at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Since Beijing however, he’s been on the world scene medaling at every international meet thereafter. Cochrane’s goal in London was to stand on the top of the podium, but he was outgunned by Chinese swimmer Sun Yang who swam to a World Record performance of 14:31.02. Cochrane, posting a best time, stated that this loss fueled him to continue swimming, where he plans to represent Canada at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro and hopefully fill the pool with the sounds of the Canadian national anthem.
Cochrane’s continuation of his career is crucial to the Canadian national team after long-time-leader Brent Hayden (2007 World Champion, 2012 Olympic Bronze medallist) retired shortly after the London Games. After falling short of their goal to accomplish 5 medals in the pool in London, Cochrane’s talent and leadership may be the key to achieving the Canadian National Team’s goal in the near future.
Emilie Heymans (31) is another athlete that’s leadership and success is crucial to developing a stronger aquatics team over the next few years. The aerial acrobat dove successfully in London this summer winning the bronze medal with partner Jennifer Abel in the 3m Synchro Springboard.
Heymans has been partnered with Abel since 2010 where the pair won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. The pair has continued with their success since then, winning the silver medal behind the Chinese at the 2011 world championships in Shanghai. With this Olympic medal, Heymans became the first diver ever to win a medal at four consecutive Olympics having medalled previously in 2000, 2004, and 2008. With that performance it was inevitable that she would be chosen as Aquatics Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year. Heymans continues to train with Yihau Li at the Point-Claire diving club In Quebec.
Like Cochrane, she is an inspiration and leader amongst her teammates. These two athletes have been pushing Canadian athletes on the national team for some time now and with their experience and leadership we can hope to see more Canadians pursuing international success.
Other award winners include
Aquatics Canada President’s Honour Award: Martin Richard, Bill Hogan, Lisa Matheson, Dr. Andrew Pipe
Team of the Year: Roseline Fillion and Meaghan Benefito (sycnhro platform bronze medalists at London Olympics)
Coach of the Year: Ceasar Henderson and Andrew Dziver
AFC Spirit of Sport Award: Marie-Pier Boudreau-Gagnon
Media Award: Luc Bellemare