The 26-year-old from Victoria blew away the field in the men's 1,500-metre to cap the Canadian swimming trials on Saturday night. But the Olympic silver and bronze medallist looked up at the time clock puzzled when his time of 15 minutes 1.41 seconds flashed up.
"The times didn't really show the work that I've been doing," said Cochrane, who expected to swim 15 seconds faster. "I'll get back to work and see if there is anything I could do better, which I think you always do as an athlete.
"It's just a vicious cycle, you always go back to the drawing board and try to get better. And because this wasn't where we wanted to be, maybe it's a different type of work (I need). . . we'll have to talk about it."
Cochrane, who also won the 400 freestyle this week, headlined the 36-member Canadian team named Saturday night for this summer's Pan American Games in Toronto. Twenty-four of those swimmers, including Cochrane, also earned spots on the team for the world championships.
Cochrane, whose Canadian record is 14:39.63 he set in finishing second at the 2012 London Olympics, clocked the third fastest time in the world this year on Saturday night.
Still, it's not where the wiry six-foot-three swimmer wants to be in his quest to be the best in the world.
Cochrane said he'll go back to Victoria, and channel his disappointment into his training. He's done it before. He talked about the weeks and months after the trials for the 2005 world championships, when he missed the team by just four-hundredths of a second.
"When you get these results and they're not quite where you want them to be, you can kind of take it as a positive, and you really get that grit in your teeth and you can go back to work and do some great things," he said.
Karl Krug won the men's 50 freestyle just six weeks after he became a Canadian citizen. Krug grew up in Yucaipa, Calif., about an hour outside of Los Angeles, but is eligible to swim for Canada because his dad was born in Calgary, then adopted by an American couple when he was six weeks old.
"This being my first individual national title, it's pretty special," said Kru, who touched the wall in 22.21 seconds. "The final decision (to race for Canada) came when I knew I had a realistic chance to do some good things for Rio (2016 Olympics)."
Canadian veteran Audrey Lacroix won the women's 200 butterfly in 2:09.22. She missed the world championship standard by five-hundredths of a second, but was still named to the team after a nervous 90 minutes of waiting for the team announcement.
"I talked to my mom, I talked to my coach (during the wait). I was not happy with my race, and I felt not good anymore. My mom said 'We didn't raise you for five-hundredths to make you feel bad, that's not what we taught you,'" said Lacroix, holding back tears.
The 31-year-old from Pont-Rouge, Que., who hasn't missed making a national team in more than a decade, is gunning for the top of the medal podium at the Pan Am Games in the same pool that hosted this week's trials.
"I would like to have another gold at Pan Ams, I have one from 12 years ago, so it would be pretty cool to have another one this summer in Canada," she said.
In other races Saturday, Page of Cortes Island, B.C., won the men's 200 butterfly, Chantal van Landeghem of Winnipeg won the women's 50 free, Sydney Pickerem of Halifax won the women's 200 individual medley, Luke Reilly of Richmond, B.C., captured the men's 200 I.M. title, and Tabitha Baumann of Ottawa won the women's 800 freestyle.
"There's young, there's old and I think we all bring a little something," Cochrane said of the national swim team. "I remember my first team when I thought I could conquer the world, and I think that's a good attitude to have for younger athletes, and we saw that all week long, posting top times in the world and that will give them confidence going into the summer.
"The Pan Ams is also a really good stepping stone going into world championships, and it will make you a better athlete going into an Olympic year."
The Pan American Games are July 10-26, while the world championships are July 24-Aug. 9 in Kazan, Russia.