South Korean officials have protested the disqualification of swimmer Park Tae-hwan and are asking FINA, swimming’s governing body, to allow him to compete in Saturday’s finals, reports are indicating.
That has Swimming Canada on high alert since Ryan Cochrane posted the 8th-best time in the 400-metre freestyle and could be bumped from the final by Park, the defending Olympic champion and current world champion in the discipline. The South Korean swimmer was given a DQ in the morning heats for a false start. Park won his heat with a time that was faster than Cochrane’s three minutes 47.26 seconds.
According to various media reports, FINA is looking into the matter. Canadian swim officials are also waiting to hear what happens next.
Cochrane is Canada’s best medal hope in swimming, although his prime event is the 1,500 metres. In the Saturday morning heats, the 23-year-old Victoria native swam ina lane next to German world-record holder Paul Biedermann. Cochrane was in and out of the top three spot until pushing it in the final 50 seconds to finish first.
China’s Sun Yang posted the fastest qualifying time of 3:45.07.
“I think my nerves got a little but the best of me,” said Cochrane. “I was shaky in the first half of the race, but it’s super hard to know what your competitors are doing to do. I knew I had to win my heat.
“When I was a little behind at the 150 I knew I had to make my move and I was lucky enough my competitors didn’t.”
Asked for his thoughts on the final, Cochrane answered: “I thought I went out hard (in the heats) but when I saw my final time I knew I had four, five seconds left in me so I want to calm down a bit and enjoy the experience.”
Cochrane knew of Park’s disqualification and said only, “That’s the Olympics.”