What They Are Saying: Remembrances of Legendary Coach Gennadi Touretski


The sport of swimming lost one of its giants in coaching on Friday, when Gennadi Touretski died at 71 following a stroke at his home in Switzerland. The loss has been felt around the world, as Touretski’s reach was wide. Not only did he mentor some of the greats in the sport, most notably Alexander Popov and Michael Klim, Touretski’s input was sought by coaches around the globe.

Born in the Soviet Union, Touretski started to mold his coaching career in his homeland and eventually moved to the Australian Institute of Sport, where he was stationed from 1992-2002. Under the watch of Touretski, Popov captured the Olympic sprint double at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and followed by repeating that feat at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Meanwhile, Klim also flourished under Touretski, establishing himself as a world-record holder and Olympic and world champion.

Thanks to Swimming Australia, here is what is being said about Touretski following the death of this coaching legend.

Alexander Popov – Sprint Legend

“There was no one more influential to my success in the pool and in life than Gennadi. Gennadi was my mentor, best friend, father figure, psychologist, sports scientist, biomechanist all rolled into one. His philosophies and influence on the swimming world will live on through coaches not only in his mother country of Russia or his adopted homes of Australia and Switzerland but globally. I will miss him dearly.”

Michael Klim – 2020 International Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee

“We all have that one person in our lives that has a profound impact on who we are and what we become as adults for me Gennadi was exactly that. I owe Gennadi so much not only for my achievements in the pool but for shaping me over eight years of our time together into a man with values and knowledge to embark on life and whatever came my way in and outside of the pool.”

Matt Dunn – Three-Time Olympian

“Outside of family, Gennadi is without question the most influential person in my sporting life and life in general. Gennadi always had a vision and a plan to get there which time after time delivered for his athletes and the team overalll. His philosophies have shaped me into the athlete I became and who I am today and for this I will be eternally grateful. Gennadi will always be with me.”

Ian Thorpe – Distance Legend

“His influence and expertise over sprint freestyle led to Australia not only competing with the best nations in the world, but eclipsing them. I had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Gennadi Touretski from when I was 12, he looked over my early career with great enthusiasm, this led me on my return to swimming to not only have that same enthusiasm but also my love for swimming. Gennadi was a true genius, his impact has benefited many athletes including myself and his influence will continue for years to come. He will be sorely missed and I wish I had more time with him in and out of the pool.”

Nicole Livingstone – Three-Time Olympic Medalist

“I have such fond memories of my time with Gennadi, I joined him after already competing at two Olympics and to learn new ways as an older athlete was such a joy and pleasure for me. He was always looking for innovative ways to get you to swim faster through your feel for the water and efficiency. He encouraged us to always grow as athletes and people. Even years after my retirement he was still genuinely interested in me and what I was doing.”

Sarah Ryan – Three-Time Olympic Medalist

“Training with Gennadi was a pivotal time in my swimming career. He was an innovative coach ahead of his time and under his guidance my stroke changed quite dramatically (to the straight arm freestyle). He always challenged me and increased my ability to train and race at the highest level.”



Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x