Arkady Vyatchanin, Russian World-Record Holder, Looking to Swim For Serbia

After nearly two years on the bench in terms of international competition, Russian Olympian and world-record holder Arkady Vyatchanin could have a new home in Serbia. The Serbian Swimming Federation announced officially that it will be looking to secure Vyatchanin’s sports citizenship after Vyatchanin was unable to find a way to represent the United States.

Serbian Swimming Federation Statement

“Arkady Vyatchanin expressed a desire to change his sport’s citizenship and swim for Serbia. Vyatchanin, a Russian world-record holder, has not swum for almost two years for Russia and is the world-record holder in the 200-meter backstroke in short course competition.  The Serbian Swimming Federation has started the procedure of obtaining Serbian citizenship, and with the assistant of the Ministry of Youth and Sport as well as the personal commitment of Minister Vanja Udovicic, who stated that it is in the best interest of the Republic of Serbia, the case has been fast-tracked.

We are confident that Vyatchanin’s results represent a significant improvement in the performance of our representation.  Furthermore, it would be valuable to add his participation in the medley relay event with Velimir Stjepanovic, Ivan Lender and Caba Siladji that would take us closer to winning a medal at the Olympic Games and the European Championships, and thus to achieve a significant success for Serbian sport in general.  The Serbian Swimming Federation will initiate the proper procedure with FINA to change his citizenship.”

In April 2013, Vyatchanin announced that he was looking for a new country to represent at international competitions, one day after the conclusion of the Russian nationals where he won two backstroke events.

“I believe that I can offer nothing else to Russian swimming,” Vyatchanin was quoted as saying at the Russian Cup final in Kazan in 2013. “I will continue my swimming performances but not as a Russian athlete any more. I will decide which country’s team to join in the near future.”

Vyatchanin, who trains with Gregg Troy in Florida, had initially focused his efforts on swimming for the U.S.  But, after more than a year of exhausting every angle in that direction, Vyatchanin began to look elsewhere.

It’s a huge loss for Russia in the long run as Vyatchanin won two bronze medals at the 2008 Olympics, and he has been returning to that form as of late.

The move to Serbian does have its detractors, as US-based Serbian swimmer Milorad Cavic took to Twitter to warn Vyatchanin about the decision.

“I understand your reasons for leaving the Russian Swimming Federation, but I ask you to consider other federations before the Serbian Swimming Federation.  The Serbian Swimming Federation is plagued with corruption, incompetence and its president should sooner face prison than to make one more decision in the interest of Serbian swimming.  At this moment, Arkady Vyatchanin, the Serbian Swimming Federation is writing checks it can’t cash and promises it won’t keep. You may find yourself a swimming nomad for the second time.”

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Author: Jason Marsteller

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Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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