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Friday, April 18, 2014

What Makes Ryan Cochrane The Best?

Couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to meet Ryan and chat about his journey to date, when out in

Victoria for the Canadian Swim Trials.  We have been partnered with Ryan since the end of 2013 and have been fuelling him since 2007.  Was great finally meeting him in person, at the time he had a couple more races and then a couple of exams that would be his last step in getting his Psychology degree.  Ryan was the class of the field in the 200 m, 400 m and 1500 m free, winning gold in the 3 freestyle events.

Find out how Ryan has risen to the top of the swimming world in the 1500 m free and his plans for the future.  Can you imagine swimming 75 km a week, Ryan does it every week!

Infinit: Did you play or compete in any other sports prior to swimming?
Ryan: As I was growing up I never really looked at swimming as a competitive sport.  I played soccer and baseball for many years, and even tried track, a few triathlons and rowing in high school.  I never excelled at any other sport, but kept with it because I love being active and part of a team environment. 

Infinit: When did you start swimming competitively?
Ryan: At the age of 9, I began having knee and feet issues, and had issues with running.  Most of the sports that my friends played involved some sort of running, and so it lead me to look at other sports to try.  Luckily I found swimming and was hooked from the beginning.

Infinit: When did you realize or did your swimming coach realize that you were highly competitive in the pool?
Ryan: I’ve always been quite a competitive person.  I have a twin brother named Devon, and he and I used to compete for everything.  Whether it was in sports, at school, or even at home, we both developed a competitive drive at a young age.  While I wasn’t a successful swimmer for many years, I loved training with my friends, and trying my best to meet the goals I set for myself.  Many of my goals started at a local level, but I eventually made my first nationals cut at the age of 14, and my first national team at the age of 17.

Infinit: How has swimming contributed to the person you are today?
Ryan: I’ve learned many skills which I’ve taken from the pool and applied to my everyday life;  I’ve learned how to be committed to long term goals (which could be as long as 4 or 8 years away), how to work my body to extremes, while never loosing site of my objectives, and how to time manage.  I believe as an athlete, you have many talents that can help you each day.  To be a great athlete, you have to be able to give some things up, and really focus for years at a time on a single goal.  That is a skill that can be applied to anything in life.

Infinit: You have been very successful competing at the top of the world in the 1500 m Free for the last 2 Olympic Cycles with Bronze and Silver, how to you stay motivated as you are nicely into the 2016 Rio cycle?
Ryan: My ultimate goal has been the same since I was learning to swim at 9 years old:  I want to be able to stand on the top of the Olympic podium and sing our anthem loud with pride.  It is a goal which I can think about when training gets really exhausting, or when I think I can’t do a single meter more.  That being said, it takes short term goals to keep you motivated as well, and I always have monthly goals along with yearly goals, that work as stepping stones to the next Olympics.  I always want to represent Canada to the best of my ability each time I get a chance to step onto the blocks, and with that pride comes constant competitive drive.

Infinit: Can you share with us what a typical week of swimming and dry land training looks like, amount of time and distance.
Ryan: My weeks are all relatively the same, with Wednesdays and Sundays off for recovery.  The rest of the week sees us in the water for 2 hours in the morning (with distances between 6-8 km), followed by 2.5 hours at night (6-9km), then either a weights workout or a dryland workout.  We also tend to do about 45 min of core work prior to each practice.

Infinit: Who have been some of the most influential people in your swimming career?
Ryan: My coach Randy and I have been working together for about 13 years now, and he has therefore been the most influential person in my career.  I also find my teammates to be extremely influential; without them I would have a really difficult time staying motivated and enjoying the process.  A third group of influential people would be our support team (our nutritionists, physiotherapists, physiologists, etc), as they ensure we are the best athletes we can be.

Darcy Haggith, President, Infinit Nutrition Canada