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.