Virden’s Drew Cochrane enjoyed a very successful first season swimming and studying at the University of Manitoba.
U of M head swimming coach Vlastimil Cerny said that the son of Jennifer and David Cochrane cut a lot of time off his previous personal best. Cochrane came close to qualifying for Nationals in the 200 metre breast stroke.
“He is here to improve. That is the big thing… He genuinely wants to get better and works at it,” Cerny said.
The coach said this past season Cochrane fine-tuned his strokes and improved his racing. The 6-foot-2 Cochrane succeeds with a mix of talent, skill, and sweat.
“His strength is his work ethic,” Cerny said.
“He is very strong. He works very hard. He is very coachable.” Cochrane greatly enjoyed his first year swimming for the Bisons. “First was the bonding with the teammates and the travelling,” he wrote in an email interview.
“You have tons of fun with your teammates and also get to visit lots of different universities around western Canada. I also really enjoyed the training, which was more focused on speed, so we did a lot more weight training, as well as sprinting in the pool rather than a ton of distance in the pool.”
Cochrane had previously competed at the club level. He said university swimming was different in several ways. The travel was a major change as he found himself flying across western Canada
rather than hitting the road for meets in just Winnipeg or Saskatchewan.
The competition was also definitely a step up.
“It is a lot more competitive than club swimming, especially at university only meets,” Cochrane wrote. “At these meets you compete only against other varsity athletes, a lot of which are top swimmers in the country.”
As well, he also had to adjust to juggling demanding sports and school schedules. Cochrane is enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering and tentatively plans to enter into computer engineering in the next school year.
“It is a lot different in the sense that you have a lot more responsibilities going on, as you have to now balance university classes, training 19 hours a week, and travelling, so it requires a lot more time management than high school did.”
Cochrane’s swimming career really got started when he was in Grade 4. That was when he swam his first of two years with the local Virden swim club. Cochrane went on to swim for the Brandon Bluefins in Grades 4 through 11. He appreciates what Bluefins coach Barb Fay did for him while he was with the Wheat City club.
“She always supported me for the seven years I swam with her as my coach, and was the person who developed my technical skills and fitness to a level that I could compete at the university level.”
In his final year of high school, Cochrane moved to Winnipeg to train with the Manta Swim Club and attend St. Paul’s High School.
He said his parents had a “big impact on my career because of their continued support for me through all the ups and downs of the sport.”
“They have supported me the whole way through my swimming career, and are the reason I have got this far, giving up a ton of their time in order for me to get to practices and meets throughout my career in age group swimming. They also provided me the opportunity to move to Winnipeg for my Grade 12 year in order for me to get more training time. Without them I would not be where I
am today in swimming.”