Olympic Medalist Ryan Cochrane Officially Announces Retirement

Two-time Olympic medalist in the 1500 free Ryan Cochrane has officially announced his retirement from swimming, per CBC.ca. The 28-year-old hasn’t competed since the Rio Olympics last August, so it seemed to be a formality of when he would officially call it quits, rather than if.

Heading into Rio last summer Cochrane had said that the Games would be his last. However, after disappointments in the 400 free (11th) and 1500 free (6th), his post-race 1500 interview he mentioned he wasn’t sure if that was it or not, knowing he had more in him.

After earning a finals berth in the 800 free at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, Cochrane burst onto the scene at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He surprised all by challenging eventual gold medal winner Ous Mellouli and distance legend Grant Hackett for the majority of the 1500 final, before ultimately getting his hand on the wall for the bronze medal. That was Canada’s first swimming medal since the 2000 Games in Sydney, as they hadn’t yet earned one in Beijing and were kept medal-less in Athens.

After that performance, Cochrane became the face of Canadian swimming. He won a total of four medals between the 2009 and 2011 World Championships, leading him into the London Olympic Games. There, Cochrane had the best swim of his career, breaking the 14:40 barrier for the first time and winning the 1500 silver medal in a time of 14:39.63 behind only China’s Sun Yang.

Cochrane would earn four more World Championship medals between the 2013 and 2015 Championships, including giving Sun Yang his closest challenge yet in the 2013 1500 final before getting beaten to the wall by 1.3 seconds.

In the article on CBC.ca, University of Toronto Head Coach and CBC swimming analyst Byron MacDonald speaks highly of Cochrane and his effect on Canadian swimming.

“He was a dominant, dominant player on the world scene for virtually a decade. That speaks volumes of an elite performer,” “It was so amazing the positive effect that had on the national team,” MacDonald recalled. “He stimulated Canadian swim development in 2008, got it back on track and then he kept it on track for the next 10 years.”

On top of his Olympic and LC World Championship success, Cochrane also successfully defended his Commonwealth Games titles in both the 400 and 1500 freestyles, winning in both 2010 and 2014. Over his career he also won six Pan Pacific Championship medals, including three gold.

He was Swimming Canada’s ‘Swimmer of the Year’ every year consecutively from 2008 to 2015.

Read the full CBC article here.



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Swimmer A
5 years ago

I remember watching him for the first time during the 2011 worlds. He had that really high tempo distance free stroke. And I always thought it was so interesting, cause next to him Sun Yang was taking like half the number of strokes. And intuitively you would think that would mean Sun Yang was swimming more efficiently. But Cochrane was able to get himself really high in the water, and roll a lot less, and just keep the arms moving the whole time. That was kind of big for me cause it was the first time I noticed someone doing that, and it kinda taught me “hey, there are more ways to swim freestyle.”

5 years ago

Could make a good argument that he is the greatest Canadian swimmer of all time, thank you for a wonderful career Ryan

Reply to  Uberfan
5 years ago

He is the most decorated if you include all of his international medals, from the Olympic and World Championship medals to his multiple golds in each of the Commonwealth, Pan Pacific and Pan American games.

5 years ago

One of my favorite athletes to watch. Were the sport of swimming without dopers, Ryan would be the distance freestyle star! Canada can be very proud of this man.

5 years ago

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride (Except if you stripped some alleged dopers of their medals..)
So consistent in his performances, and a pleasure to watch.
Thank you for rejuvenating Canadian swimming and inspiring all Canadian swimmers Ryan!

5 years ago

Happy retirement Cochrane. Easily one of the most consistent swimmers on the world stage ever!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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