Canadian Spring Nationals/Pan Pacific Trials: Ryan Cochrane Posts First Sub-15 Minute Mile of 2010

MONTREAL, Quebec, March 31. OLYMPIC bronze medalist Ryan Cochrane provided some fireworks on the first night of swimming at the 2010 Canadian Spring Nationals/Pan Pacific Trials, which featured finals in six events.

Displaying a new stroke that included a stronger kick and longer stroke, Cochrane easily won the final event of the day, the 1500 freestyle, in 14:56.83, which makes him the only swimmer in the world to crack the 15-minute barrier this year. Robert Hurley just missed breaking the barrier at the Australian nationals earlier this month with a 15:00.96. Cochrane's time is 16 seconds off his national record of 14:40.84, which he set at the 2008 Olympics.

"I'm really happy," said Cochrane. "It's about what I went in the Olympic year, so I'm glad."

The top finisher at the meet in events 100 meters or longer automatically qualify for the Pan Pacific championships this summer in Irvine, California. Second-place swimmers must be faster than the FINA "A" standard in order to be invited to compete at Pan Pacs.

The meet's first event, the 50 butterfly, was a non-qualifying event, but that didn't stop Sandrine Mainville and Kelly Aspinall from winning the women's and men's events, respectively. Mainville took the women's national title in 27.42, while Aspinall won the men's race – his first national title – in 24.61.

The first selection event of the night was the 200 free, and Genevieve Saumur of C.N. Piscines Parc Olympique took the title in 2:00.30, with her teammate Barbara Jardin finishing second in 2:00.54. Both swimmers were slower than the FINA "A" standard of 1:59.29, but Saumur will swim at Pan Pacs by virtue of finishing first. Colin Russell won the men's 200 free with a 1:48.35, just ahead of Brian Johns' 1:48.91. Russell just missed the FINA "A" standard of 1:48.72.

Sinead Russell joined brother Colin on the Canadian Pan Pacific team with a win in the 100 backstroke. Russell won with a time of 1:01.53. Katelyn Murdoch was just off the FINA "A" standard of 1:01.70 when she touched second in 1:01.74. The men's 100 back was won by Charles Francis with a 54.94. Jake Tapp, who made the final in both backstrokes for the University of Arizona last weekend, finished second in 55.52, just off the FINA "A" standard of 55.14.

In the women's 200 butterfly, national record holder Audrey Lacroix touched first in 2:10.83, well ahead of Katerine Savard, who was second in 2:12.26. Notably, Lacroix just barely made it under the FINA "A" standard of 2:10.84, though her participation at the Pan Pacs was guaranteed through her first-place finish. The men's 200 fly was won by Zack Chetrat, who passed national record holder Stefan Hirniak in the final 10 meters to win in 1:58.97. Hirniak was second with a 1:59.44. Both times were slower than the FINA "A" standard of 1:57.67.

The women's 800 freestyle went to Alexa Komarnycky with an 8:38.18. The second place finisher was Savannah King with an 8:48.91. Both swimmers could not reach the FINA "A" standard of 8:35.98, but Komarnycky will represent Canada this summer by virtue of touching first. Notably, Komarnycky was third earlier in the evening in the 200 free with a 2:00.54.

Well behind Cochrane's time in the mile was second-place finisher Kier Maitland, who touched in 15:38.38. Notably, the FINA "A" standard in the 1500 is 15:13.16.

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