Paralympic swimmer gains national award

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Paralympic swimmer gains national award

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Published on 30 May 2012

30 May 2012

The peak governing body of university sport in Australia has recognised University of the Sunshine Coast student Blake Cochrane for his international achievements in the pool.

Cochrane, 21, who is a member of the USC-based High Performance Paralympic squad, received Most Outstanding Sporting Achievement of the Year at the 2012 Australian University Sport (AUS) Annual Awards on 17 May.

The USC Sport and Exercise Science student was nominated for his efforts at the 2011 Para Pan Pacific Championships where he won five gold medals and one silver medal, and set a new world record in the 100 metre breaststroke.

Cochrane, who is currently listed “priority one” for selection for the London Paralympics, said the award recognised the athlete who had attained the single best sporting achievement in a non-AUS endorsed event while being a university student.

“To be honest, I didn’t even realise I was nominated for the award until I was stopped by USC Sport Manager Nathan Gordon one morning and asked if I could attend the awards,” he said.

“Unfortunately I was on a training camp in Thailand for the awards night but to receive this award is very exciting.

“Australia prides itself on sport, and there’s certainly a lot of talent coming through during this Olympic and Paralympic year — so to be chosen as having the most outstanding performance is quite a surprise.”

Cochrane said he worked hard to balance his studies with a demanding six-day-a-week training schedule that included swimming, gym, spin classes and beach sessions.

“There’s a fair bit of work in there but it generally flows quite nicely once you get used to the routine,” he said.

“There are some days where it can be quite hard to get into the books when you are feeling tired but the squad, my coach Jon Shaw and the support staff make every day a little different and enjoyable.”

Cochrane now has his sights set on gold in the 100 metre SB7 breaststroke in world record time at the London Paralympics.

USC sports scientist and former paralympic swimming champion Professor Brendan Burkett said he was confident Cochrane would achieve his goals.

“Cochrane moved from Brisbane to the new Swimming Australia High Performance Swimming program at USC last year and, under the guidance of coach Jon Shaw, has excelled,” he said.

“This national recognition will further boost his preparation for the London Games.”

— Michelle Widdicombe

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