Famous swim coach Gennadi Touretski has died just weeks after his 71st birthday.
Touretski had a stroke, and was subsequently put into a medically induced coma, but never recovered.
Touretski, who was born in the Soviet Union, but later moved to Australia and became an Australian citizen, was most famous as coach of the Alexander Popov, also known as “The Russian Rocket.” Popov was a 4-time Olympic gold medalist, and 5-time Olympic silver medalist. In his career, he set World Records in both the 50 and 100 meter freestyles in both short course and long course meters. The longest of those records was the 100 free in short course, which stood for more than 10 years until Ian Crocker broke it in 2004.
Touretski began coaching Popov in Russia, and upon his move to Australia in 1992, both Popov and fellow Russian Vlad Pyshnenko followed him.
During his tenure at the Australian Institute of Sport, Touretski also famously coached Australian star Michael Klim. Klim was a 6-time Olympic medalist while under Touretski’s direction.
“Gennadi Touretski took me under his wing and created what I am right now,” said Vlad Pyshnenko, one of his former athletes and the current head senior coach of the CATS Aquatic Team in Illinois. “He was like a second father to me. Me and Alex (Popov) stayed in his house while training in Australian Institute of Sport. If not for him, I would have been done with my swimming carrier in 1994, after a biking accident.”I’ve learn a lot from him. And not only swimming knowledge. I even think that I have good taste in music because of him.”
Toureski also coached Australian Matthew Dunn, an 8-time World Champion in short course and three-time Olympian, World Champion Ray Hass, and World Championship silver medalist Clementine Stoney.
Touretski made news back in 2011, when it was announced that he would be taking over as the coach of freestyle legend Ian Thorpe, who was coming out of retirement to train with Touretski. For a time, Touretski also coached his daughter, Sasha, in Switzerland. For her part, Alexandra made the Swiss Olympic team for the 2016 Olympics, competing on the Swiss women’s 4×100 free relay.