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Canadian Cochrane bumped from 400m free final

Canadian swimmer Ryan Cochrane has been bumped out of the men's 400-metre freestyle final at the London Olympics. Defending champion Park Tae-hwan was reinstated after protesting his disqualification in the heats, and on to take the silver medal.
Canada's Ryan Cochrane checks the scoreboard after competing in the men's 400-metre freestyle heats Saturday at the London Olympics. (Leon Neal/AFP/GettyImages)

Olympic champion Park Tae-hwan was reinstated for the 400-metre freestyle event Saturday after South Korea appealed his disqualification for a false start on the opening day of the swimming competition.

Park went on to take the silver medal in the final. China's Sun Yang won gold with an Olympic-record time of 3 minutes, 40.14 seconds. Park clocked in at 3:42.06.

The sport's governing body, FINA, made the decision to reinstate Park after reviewing video, its executive director, Cornel Marculescu, told The Associated Press.

The reversal of the disqualification knocked out Canada's Ryan Cochrane, who had taken the last qualifying position for Saturday night's final in eighth. 

The protest first went to FINA's technical swimming committee, which upheld the disqualification. South Korea then took it to a jury of appeal, which ruled in Park's favour.

Canada cannot appeal because the jury's decisions are final.

"I was surprised, because I left the pool thinking he was in," said Randy Bennett, head coach of the Canadian team and Cochrane's personal coach. "He took it well and he's already started to get ready for the 1,500, his best event.

"He did what I told him to do and won his heat, but he probably needed to be a little faster," Bennett added. "You need a little luck in these situations and we were just on the short end of the stick."

Park was first to touch the wall in his heat and appeared bewildered when told of the disqualification.

"I don't know why," said Park, who won gold in the event at the Beijing Games. "I need to speak to my coach to find out." 

Marculescu could not explain why the judge on the pool deck ruled Park had a false start.

"It's a very good question," Marculescu said. "Human error maybe."

The judge involved, Bill Hogan, was Canadian, but Swimming Canada CEO Pierre Lafontaine rejected any speculation that national interests triggered the false-start call.

"You pick these officials and some are from different countries. Can you imagine the process if you have to start removing the official when there is a heat of a different competitor?" Lafontaine said. "These people are taken because of their quality in what they do, and I'm confident in FINA."

Dickens sets Canadian breaststroke record

Scott Dickens of Ancaster, Ont., set a Canadian record of 59.85 in his men's 100m breaststroke heat and qualified in seventh place for the evening semifinals.

"I love my job," Dickens said. "I was really calm before my race and I went in there like it was my last."

Katerine Savard of Cap-Rouge, Que., was sixth in her women's 100m butterfly heat, earning a spot in the evening semifinals.

The Canadian women's 4x100m freestyle relay team finished fifth in its heat and failed to qualify for the final. Canada had the 11th fastest time. The top eight advanced.

Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield, Que., finished second in her women's 400m IM heat but failed to qualify for the final.

Victoria's Alec Page finished last in his 400m IM heat and failed to advance.

With files from CBCSports.ca