This school year Virden’s Drew Cochrane is back in class at the University of Manitoba, but not back in the pool.
With a full course load in the final year of his challenging engineering major, the son of David and Jennifer Cochrane has opted not to return for his fifth year of swimming eligibility. While focused on academics, Cochrane enjoyed his four seasons swimming for his school.
“What I will remember most about swimming at the U of M is the great friends and memories I made in the sport,” he said. “A good portion of my best friends swam with me throughout my career as a Bison swimmer. Furthermore, the memories made travelling and training with the team are incredible, especially getting the opportunity to visit so many universities in western Canada throughout my swim career. The ability to devote so much time to something I love was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
During the 2017-2018 season, Cochrane enjoyed competing in the Canada West championships in Victoria and going to the new pool at the University of British Columbia for the Odlum Brown College Cup.
Another highlight of the past school year for Cochrane was his time as a co-coordinator for the Bisons Against Bullying program. It was his second straight year in that position. With Virden’s Karissa Kirkup, he coordinated student-athletes to visit schools, raise awareness, and help students learn strategies to deal with bullying.
“I organized a pink shirt volleyball game, where we had all the U of M volleyball players wear pink shirts to raise awareness for the Red Cross Pink Day,” Cochrane said. “Lots of schools were invited to watch the Bisons volleyball game, and I even saw some schools bring entire classrooms and order pizza. It was definitely special to have the kids see role models in the varsity athletes playing that night!”
Cochrane has been a U Sports Academic All-Canadian. He was a computer engineering summer student at StandardAero in Winnipeg. Cochrane helped an aircraft engine test cell team write real-time software to “gather data and send commands to different devices in new aircraft engine test cells being built in San Antonio and Maryville in the States,” he explained.
During the past couple years, Cochrane said it has been challenging to juggle swimming, academics, and Bisons Against Bullying.
“It required me to partition my time and know exactly when I was going to spend time training, studying, and running the Bisons Against Bullying program in the weeks to come,” he said. “There were times when I was definitely quite stressed out, however it was definitely rewarding to find the time to run the Bisons Against Bullying program in addition to school and sports. There is something special about seeing the impact the program has on kids when doing school visits and organizing other bullying awareness activities!”
Cochrane praised his family for their incredible support through his swimming and university career.
“Whenever I needed support, they were always there to talk to and offer help,” he said. “They went out of their way to get me to practices and swim meets throughout my grade school swim career, and without all of this there is no way I would have had the incredible opportunity to swim for the Bisons and experience the great memories I made. As I get older, it continues to amaze me more and more how much they did for me to help my swim and school career.”