The 28-year-old from Victoria, a consistent medal producer during a thin time for Canada’s swim program, announced his retirement from competition Tuesday. He ends his decorated career with two Olympic medals in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle — a silver and a bronze — and eight world championship medals, the most by a Canadian swimmer.
“Thinking of stepping away is the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make because it’s reinventing yourself, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time,” Cochrane said Tuesday on a conference call.
Going from someone who is in the top percentile in the world at something to someone who isn’t can be a difficult transition for athletes as they re-define themselves.
Cochrane, who has started a job working for a software company in Victoria, is tackling that transformation.
“I won’t miss the constant exhaustion and the days you can’t even function you’re so tired all the time,” Cochrane said
“I’m going to miss focusing on something that seemed a bit bigger than myself. Being part of the Olympic movement was something I underestimated when I started swimming and that I can’t say enough about now.”
He kept Canada’s swimmers on the international radar during lean times the first decade of this century.
Canada was shut out of swimming medals at the 2004 Olympic Games for the first time in four decades.